Snow 'astonished' by changes in Shanghai
Updated: 2005-10-12 19:20
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said he was "astonished" by Shanghai's
economic transformation Wednesday as he began a visit expected to focus on
China's currency policies and its huge and growing trade surplus with the United
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow speaks to
journalists at Shanghai Stock Exchange Wednesday Oct. 12, 2005 in
Shanghai, China. Snow toured the financial center of Shanghai on Wednesday
as he embarked on a visit expected to focus on China's currency policies
and its huge and growing trade surplus with the United States.
Speaking above the trading
floor of this city's stock exchange, Snow said he was stunned by Shanghai's dramatic
transformation from a crumbling relic of central planning into a modern
"I'm astonished every time I come to see how much has happened since the last
time I came," Snow said. Compared with 10 years ago, "the changes are nothing
short of breathtaking."
Yet Snow urged China to move even faster in pushing ahead with reforms of its
nascent capital markets, which still lag behind the rest of the booming economy.
China allows only limited foreign exchange trading, its bond and other financial
products markets are in their infancy, and most companies choose to list shares
not on domestic bourses but in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
"It's clear the potential of the financial sector to play a larger role in
the economy is enormous," Snow said, adding that he would continue to press for
greater openness for foreign companies ¡ª and for more progress toward a more
flexible, market-driven exchange rate.
"It's in China's interest to continue down this path," said Snow, who is
leading a delegation in Beijing, backed by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan. They plan to meet with Chinese officials Oct. 16-17 in Beijing for
the U.S.-China Joint Economic Commission, which serves as a regular forum for
U.S. and Chinese officials to discuss economic issues.