U.S. Adopts Tougher Stance on China

In congressional hearings, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to say that China has not lived up to its promises to let its currency rate rise. From the New York Times:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, in separate hearings before House and Senate panels, plans to acknowledge on Thursday that China has kept the value of its currency, the renminbi, artificially low to help its exports and has largely failed to improve the situation as it promised to do in June.

“We are concerned, as are many of China’s trading partners, that the pace of appreciation has been too slow and the extent of appreciation too limited,” Mr. Geithner plans to say, according to excerpts of his statement released on Wednesday night by the Treasury Department.

The United States brought two cases to the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, accusing China of improperly blocking imports of a specialty steel product and denying credit card companies access to its markets. The move came just hours before House lawmakers demanded action on the currency issue.

The renminbi has risen about 1 percent against the dollar since Beijing promised new exchange rate flexibility in June.

In his testimony, Mr. Geithner is not expected to rule out declaring China a currency manipulator, a finding that could lead to retaliatory trade measures. The administration has so far refused to take such a step, relying instead on persuasion, though with little success.

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