Geithner heads to Beijing for talks

08:32, April 08, 2010      

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Visit 'to address currency issue'

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will visit Beijing for talks on economic issues with Vice-Premier Wang Qishan on Thursday, Geithner's spokesman said, in a sign that the two sides are moving toward settling a dispute over China's currency.

"The secretary and the vice-premier have been working together to find an opportunity to meet for some time," spokesman Andrew Williams said on Wednesday, as Geithner ended a two-day visit to India.

Williams gave no details of the agenda, but the decision to hold such a high-level encounter suggested Washington and Beijing are moving toward resolving the currency dispute, which has threatened to overshadow cooperation on the global economy, Iran's nuclear program and other issues.

Speaking in India on Wednesday, Geithner said the yuan will take a broader international role, calling it a "healthy, necessary adjustment".

Washington is pressing Beijing to ease exchange rate controls that it says keep the yuan undervalued, allegedly giving China's exporters an unfair price advantage and swelling its trade surplus. Some US lawmakers are calling for punitive tariffs on Chinese imports if Beijing does not act on the issue.

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