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Geithner visit may focus on joint effort to beat recession
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Top economic policymakers from the US and China will gather in Beijing early next month to discuss what the world's biggest and third largest economies could together do to end the global economic recession.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in China on June 1-2 for his first official visit. He will discuss with senior Chinese officials "a range of issues of importance to both countries," a US Treasury statement issued on Tuesday said.

Geithner's agenda includes "strengthening US-China economic ties to promote stable, balanced and sustained economic growth in the two nations," the statement said.

The Obama administration had said earlier this year that it would continue to hold high-level economic dialogue with China, which was begun during the Bush administration. The first round of the new "US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue" is scheduled for this summer in Washington.

He Maochun, director of the Research Center of Economy and Diplomacy of Tsinghua University, said the two countries would talk about how to effectively use their own economic stimulus packages to jointly revive the world economy.

"This, undoubtedly, will be on top of Geithner's agenda," He, who is familiar with the dialogue process, told China Daily yesterday.

In addition, He also claimed that Geithner would make use of this trip to set up a financial information sharing system to ensure better monetary cooperation between the two countries. Geithner may also urge China to reform its monetary policy mechanism, he said.

"Only this time, he will be much gentler," He said.

Before taking office, Geithner had created a stir by labeling China as a "currency manipulator". Perhaps as a retort, in March, China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan had called for a "super sovereign" reserve currency to replace the US dollar as the world's benchmark currency.

However, last month, Geithner retreated from those tough remarks and said in a Treasury report that China has taken steps to enhance exchange rate flexibility but that the renmimbi remained undervalued.

The US has for long believed that China was artificially depressing the value of the renminbi in order to boost exports. China, on the other hand, recently expressed concern over the safety of the country's vast holding of US dollar-based investment and raised questions about the dollar's suitability as the global reserve currency.

China abandoned a fixed currency peg with the US dollar in 2005 for a managed float and since then the renminbi has appreciated by about 20 percent against the greenback.

China has staunchly refrained from devaluating the renminbi since the financial crisis began, despite a wave of closures in its export sectors.

(China Daily May 14, 2009)

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