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U.S. Treasury Secretary Arrives in China


Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in China. It's his first visit there as a member of the Bush administration. He joined the cabinet in July.

U.S. business leaders and members of Congress want to see the Chinese currency appreciate in value as a way to reduce the U.S.-Chinese trade surplus. In remarks today, China's central bank governor acknowledged the challenges posed by China's trade surplus, but Chinese officials insist currency reforms will take place over time.

As NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing, it's unlikely Paulson will be placing pressure on the Chinese to move more quickly.

ANTHONY KUHN: Speaking yesterday in Singapore, where he attended a G7 meeting, Paulson said he didn't see any quick fixes on the issue of China's currency, the Yuan. He said he was in no position to dictate China's exchange rate, and he admitted that America's lack of domestic savings was partly to blame for global trade imbalances.

China's central bank governor has made it clear that Beijing is not offering any concessions on its exchange rates anyway.

Paulson said that he would work towards the longer-term goals of encouraging China's economic reforms, and strengthening the overall U.S.-China relationship. He added that getting China to free up its currency would take time, patience, and high-level contacts.

Paulson has plenty of those. He traveled to China more than 70 times in his former job as chairman of investment bank Goldman Sachs. He's scheduled to have lunch this week with Chinese President Hu Jintao, in Beijing. Before that, he'll stop off in east China's Jiangsu Province, home to China's most competitive private companies.

Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.