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U.S. treasury chief pursues closer economic ties with China(06/01/09)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delivers a speech at Peking University in Beijing, capital of China, June 1, 2009. (Xinhua/Gao Xueyu)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delivers a speech at Peking University in Beijing, capital of China, June 1, 2009. (Xinhua/Gao Xueyu) 
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BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is making the most of his first Beijing visit to pursue a closer economic ties with China.

Geithner spent Monday in a flurry of meetings with China's top economic team, including Vice Premier Wang Qishan and chiefs of finance, commerce, banking and securities.

Saying Geithner's visit covered wide-ranging issues, Wang stressed "the foremost subject coming to my mind is the economic dialogue of the first Strategic and Economic Dialogue."

The new dialogue mechanism came out of the first meeting between President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama in April in London.

Its strategic track will be chaired by Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while its economic track will be chaired by Wang and Geithner, as special representatives of their respective presidents.

"Our economic dialogue should be comprehensive, strategic and long-term, strengthen our communication and coordination on hot-button economic issues," Wang said in a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"The major task of the dialogue is to address the global economic slowdown," Wang said in a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"Through the dialogue, we will send a message that China and the United States are cooperating substantively to get over the difficult times, which will help boost the confidence, promote global financial stability and world economic recovery," Wang said.

"We are here to begin to lay a foundation for a very strong and positive economic relationship. We look forward to hosting you in Washington D.C. very soon," Geithner said, referring to the first dialogue this summer.

"The world has a huge stake in our two countries working closely together to lay a foundation for recovery," Geithner said.

Wang and Geithner met for an hour at the Great Hall of People after a 20-minute closed-door talk.

Meetings with Chinese officials offered a chance to "discuss the risks and challenges on the economic front, to examine some of the longer term challenges we both face in laying the foundation for a more balanced and sustainable recovery, and to explore our common interest in international financial reform," Geithner said in an economic address at Peking University, where he studied Mandarin in the early 1980s.

In the speech entitled "The United States and China, Cooperating for Recovery and Growth," Geithner lauded bilateral efforts to tackle the economic downturn."

"These efforts, the combined effect of forceful policy actions here in China, in the United States, and in other major economies, have helped slow the pace of deterioration in growth, repair the financial system, and improve confidence."

Geithner struck a positive note on the global economy, citing the initial signs of improvement.

"The global recession seems to be losing force. In the U.S., the pace of decline in economic activity has slowed. ... Households are saving more. ... Orders for goods and services are somewhat stronger."

Geithner said the U.S. "financial system is starting to heal," listing some signs in banks, securities markets and in credit.

As the world is addressing the immediate financial and economic crisis, Geithner said it was important to lay the foundations for amore balanced, sustained growth of the global economy, which requires substantial changes to economic policy and financial regulation.

"How successful we are in Washington and Beijing will be critically important to the economic fortunes of the rest of the world," he said.

Stressing both countries faced similar domestic challenges, the treasury chief listed reforms in the health care system, education, infrastructure and energy efficiency as essential steps to boosting the production capacity of both economies.

On international financial reform, Geithner said both countries would have chance together to help redesign global standards for capital requirements, stronger oversight of global markets, and better tools for resolving future crises.

Geithner said his country is committed to the ambitious program of the International Financial Fund and other international financial institutions.

He also backed China's bigger role in the international system, saying "a greater role for China is necessary for China, for the effectiveness of international financial institutions and for the world economy".

Geithner also called for cooperation to assure that the global trade and investment environment remains open.

Geithner will meet with Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday before flying back home.



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