China Slams Geithner’s Comments on Currency

Maureen Fan of The Washington Post reports on the response of a top Chinese banking official to Timothy Geithner‘s statement that “President Obama — backed by the conclusions of a broad range of economists — believes that China is manipulating its currency.”

A top official at China’s central bank hit back Saturday at comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate , who said the Obama administration believes that China is manipulating its currency.

Su Ning, vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, called Geithner’s remarks misleading and “out of keeping with the facts,” and said they could sidetrack efforts to manage the global financial crisis, the official New China News Agency reported.

“We should avoid any excuse that might lead to the revitalization of trade protectionism. Because it will do no good to the fight against the crisis, nor will it help the healthy and stable development of the global economy,” Su said during a visit to a Beijing business newspaper.

The Associated Press reports on the implications this might have for U.S.-China relations:

Selig Harrison, director of the Asia program at the U.S.-based Center for International Policy, said it was “very ill-advised for the new administration to confront China as if this were 10 years ago and we were in a strong financial position internationally.”

“We are dependent on Chinese goodwill for our economic survival and viability, and, therefore, it seems to me that this type of posture is very risky,” he said.

[…]Although Geithner said China is “manipulating its currency,” he suggested Thursday that now might not be the right time to brand Beijing as a currency manipulator under U.S. trade law, which could lead to U.S. trade penalties against imports from China.

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