Snow to seek more open China markets
Updated: 2005-10-17 07:12
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow on Sunday opened talks with Chinese
officials to try to win more American access to China's booming economy and to
take pressure off the hot-button issue of currency reform.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands
with U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow during a meeting with leaders of
the G20 Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors inside the Great Hall
of the People in Beijing October 15, 2005.
Snow, in China on a week-long visit, is participating in sessions of the
U.S.-China Joint Economic Commission (JEC) that began shortly after the midday
close of a Group of 20 gathering of rich and emerging-nation countries near
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan joined Snow in the meetings, which
shift to Beijing later on Sunday and continue on Monday. Chinese finance
minister Jin Renqing and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan are participating
in the talks.
While efforts to persuade China to let its yuan currency rise further in
value preoccupy Congressional critics of the Asian trade giant in Washington,
senior U.S. Treasury officials emphasize that their objectives are wider and
potentially more valuable to the U.S. financial services sector.
On Saturday, Treasury Under Secretary Tim Adams outlined a wide-ranging
agenda for the JEC talks including removing foreign ownership caps on financial
institutions like investment-banking firms and other measures to open China's
banking, insurance and securities sectors.
In part, the aim is to boost domestic demand so that China relies less on
exports, which in turn should mean China's surpluses on trade with the United
States and others grow less rapidly and America's problems with mounting
"If you truly want to deal with these imbalances, bilaterally or
multilaterally, you have to focus on more than just the currency," Adams said,
important as it was.
"So what we try to do is just take a quantum leap in sophistication and scope
so that with Congress or with others we can have a much more informed discussion
about how we can actually get things done," he added.
On Sunday, Germany's deputy finance minister, Caio Koch-Weser said low-key
confidential consultations were the way to prod China. "Public debate is not
very productive," he added.