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U.S.'s Geithner, China's Wang Discuss Economic Ties

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today discussed economic ties with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in a brief meeting in eastern China.

Geithner and Wang, who are designated as special representatives of their respective presidents on U.S.-China economic issues, met at Qingdao airport, a stop-off for Geithner after Group of 20 meetings in South Korea.

"The two sides exchanged views on U.S.-China economic relations and the preparation for the [G20] Leaders' Summit in Seoul," according to a statement e-mailed by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

It did not elaborate.

The airport meeting in China came at the end of Geithner's trip to the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors meetings in Gyeongju, South Korea, where officials agreed to refrain from competitive currency devaluations and reduce current account imbalances.

The United States has been pressuring China to allow its yuan to rise more rapidly in response to market forces.

Last week, Geithner delayed a semi-annual report to U.S. lawmakers on whether China manipulates its yuan for a trade advantage, choosing instead to press the issue at multilateral meetings including the Gyeongju finance leaders meeting and a G20 leaders' summit next month in Seoul.

Geithner said China in Gyeongju was "very supportive" of finding a multilateral solution to reducing global trade imbalances in the G20 meetings.

He reiterated he wants to see China accelerate its move towards a market-determined exchange rate.

"China is well into a very promising and very ambitious program of domestic reforms to strengthen domestic growth because China recognized that it cannot afford to rely as it has in the past on such an export-dependent model for growth," Geithner told a news conference.

"We want to see that progress continue," he said. "Of course as a part of that, it's not ready for its exchange rate to rise more rapidly in response to market forces."

The U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month passed legislation that aims to increase pressure on China by treating currency undervaluation as a subsidy. It will authorize the U.S. Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties to offset any price advantage from currencies.

Geithner made a similar stop-off in China on the way home from a trip to India in April, which also took place when the Treasury had delayed its currency report to allow Beijing more time to move on the yuan.

-- Reuters