U.S. economic problem not due to yuan's value

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The U.S. economic problems are internally generated and need structural reforms in the U.S. economy rather than in the Chinese currency Renminbi, a Malaysian expert said on Thursday.

Lim Teck Ghee, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia's Center for Policy Initiatives, an organization providing the private and public sectors with data and analysis affecting the country's economy and society, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua.

"I see further pressure coming from the U.S. especially from the newly elected legislators and some concession from the Chinese side to permit the renminbi to appreciate," he said.

"However, the U.S. economic problems are internally generated," said Lim, who is also former director of Center for Public Policy Studies of Malaysia's Asia Strategy and Leadership Institute, a leading independent economy think tank in Malaysia.

The U.S. is actively engaging countries in the region to enhance its influence, evidenced by high ranking officials' visits to several Asian countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

U.S. President Barrack Obama has just concluded his visits to India and Indonesia, and is attending the G20 Summit in South Korea. He is scheduled to attend the APEC Summit in Japan later this week.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, secretary of state of the U.S. also completed her seven-nation Asia Pacific tour after visiting Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zeland, Australia.

Recently, Malaysia was invited by the U.S. to join the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks. A multilateral free trade agreement will be inked if the talks are concluded, integrating the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Although the U.S. is one of the participating countries of the initiative, Lim said the TPP would not become a potential tool for the U.S. to encircle China.

"It would be foolish for the U.S., as well as not in its interests, to attempt to besiege China," said Lim.

He also stressed that Pacific Rim countries would not be part of any U.S. game plan of encirclement if indeed there was one.

"For many of them, China is a more important economic partner than is the U.S.," said Lim.

Lim said Malaysia's trade with APEC countries came up to three quarters of the value of its total trade, and much of Malaysia's foreign direct investment also came from the Pacific Rim countries.

As Malaysia has benefited from a free and open global trading system, it was clearly in the country's interest to participate in the TPP talks. However, Lim said the different economic viewpoints between China and the U.S. would not bring about any conflicts.

"Malaysia has long established trading and economic relationships with the two countries and has its own national interests to look after. I do not see Malaysia taking side in the dispute that is taking place for example on any trade friction between China and the U.S.," said Lim.

He added that it was in Malaysia's interest that there is no trade or economic war between these two giant economies as this could precipitate a global economic crisis and downturn.

At the 18th APEC Summit, Lim said, little could be expected in terms of concrete outcomes on the proposed regional free trade area and regional economic growth strategy as the dominant members were preoccupied with their own national priorities rather than larger regional agenda.

"All that can be expected are baby steps forward in regional economic integration. The snail's pace progress is expected to continue for some time," said Lim.

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