Wen on influential US top-10 list

08:39, December 03, 2009      

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Premier Wen Jiabao is the only non-American on a new top-10 list compiled by United States broadcasting giant ABC that names people with the most influence on the US economy.

The American Broadcasting Company said Wen's influence was massive, despite the 67-year-old Chinese premier's geographical distance from the US.

The TV broadcaster said the big 10 are the people who have had the most impact on the world's largest economy since 2000.

Wen was listed behind US regulators Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair and Alan Greenspan. Former AIG CEO Maurice Greenberg also made the list just ahead of Wen.

ABC explained why it included Wen by saying: "Wen Jiabao, the premier of China, is driving a roaring engine."

The article that accompanied the list said China will be increasingly important to the US.

"The world's most populous country is quickly rising to the top of the global economic heap, with a growth rate that has barely been touched by recession," the article said. "In fact, China recently overtook Germany to become the world's third-largest economy."

ABC said the 10 people on the list all have either great power or control a vast fortune - or both.

The top 10 list is completed by JPMorgan Chase chairman Jamie Dimon, former Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis and investment guru Warren Buffett.

Chinese experts said yesterday the fact that Wen made the list was further proof of improved Sino-US ties. They said the US was acknowledging China's rise as an economic power, in part because it wanted to urge Beijing to compromise on issues, including currency and climate change.

"Apparently, China's rising economic strength prompted the ABC to vote for Wen," said Fan Ying, a professor of economics at the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University. "Wen collected the title on behalf of China."

Fan said China had influenced the US economy because of its massive exports and its significant purchases of Treasury bonds.

The fact that Americans consumed so many Chinese products expedited the outflow of labor-intensive industries from the US and changed its industrial landscape, she said.

Beijing is now Washington's largest foreign creditor, holding $800 billion in US government bonds at the end of September.

"Washington has never been in such a dire need of Chinese funds," she said.

"It wants Beijing to not massively cut the Treasury holding so the US has sufficient capital to continue doling out the ailing financial sector," Fan said.

He Maochun, director of the Research Center of Economy and Diplomacy at Tsinghua University, said Wen is widely believed to be the driving force behind the $586-billion stimulus package launched by Beijing a year ago, which has helped keep Chinese economy afloat during the global economic recession.

Wen's inclusion on the list was welcomed by many Chinese.

"This shows the Chinese economy carries a great deal of weight," a netizen named "dongxue" said on 163.com, a major online news site.

But experts warned that the US might be expecting Beijing to shoulder more responsibility for global finances.

Source:China Daily
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