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Geithner urges China reform ahead of Hu visit


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner laid out Washington's terms for rebalancing strained economic relations with China Wednesday, ahead of President Hu Jintao's US visit next week.

Describing Chinese currency policy as not "tenable" and saying the country is now "too large" to base growth on exports, Geithner said reform was in both countries' interests.

The United States has long complained that China's yuan currency is artificially undervalued, helping boost already swollen Chinese exports to the West.

With the US still recovering from a brutal recession, there is heightened sensitivity about China's perceived gouging of American economic growth.

Geithner said that in return for reform, Washington was willing to offer better access to US high-tech products, greater investment opportunities in the country and preferential trade terms available to full-market economies.

Hu's January 19 state visit to Washington comes as President Barack Obama's administration tries to recalibrate its policy toward Beijing to reflect China's dramatic economic rise.

"(The) visit takes place at a time of important transition for the world economy, the Chinese economy, and the US economy," Geithner said, according to his prepared remarks for delivery to Johns Hopkins's School of Advanced International Studies.

He added China was embarking on a "long period of very rapid economic growth" that will "fundamentally change the balance in the world economy, forcing changes in the architecture of the trade and financial systems."