US Treasury Chief to Hold Economic Talks with China, Japan

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is planning to meet with Chinese and Japanese leaders next week about the global economy, as well as seek ways to increase financial pressure on Iran to thwart its nuclear development program.

The Treasury department said Wednesday that Geithner would travel to Beijing next Tuesday for a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, and then meet the following day with Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice President Xi Jinping and Executive Vice Premier Li Keqiang. Geithner is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and other officials in Tokyo on January 12.

Treasury said Geithner's talks with the Chinese officials will focus on ways to promote global economic growth, but also on what it called measures to “level the playing field for U.S. workers and firms.” U.S. officials have long contended that the Chinese currency, the yuan, is substantially undervalued. The U.S. says that gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage and has led to a wide U.S. trade deficit with China.

In late December, the U.S. said the yuan is “persistently misaligned” with other world currencies, and also claimed that Japan was working to keep the Chinese currency from appreciating.

The U.S. said Geithner would also seek Chinese and Japanese help in imposing financial measures against Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, in an effort to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear development program. In November, the U.S., Britain and Canada imposed additional sanctions on Iran, citing evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. It is a contention that Tehran denies.

On Wednesday, China says it opposes what it described as unilateral sanctions against other nations.