Treasury’s Jack Lew talks yuan, slowing China economy

By Hu Shuli, Huang Shan, Tang Jiajie and Zhang Hong

During his 40-hour visit to the Chinese capital, Lew met Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Premier Wang Yang and a number of other high-level officials.

On April 15, the U.S. Treasury Department said China was not guilty of currency manipulation in its semiannual currency report but still criticized the government intervention in the yuan’s value. Lew said during his trip that the yuan still “is undervalued.”

Lew discussed the upcoming S&ED — talks involving high-level officials on a range of issues — the yuan exchange rate, the fiscal situation of the U.S. and the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

You emphasized the importance of safeguarding U.S. leadership in the IMF, and it represents the multilateral approach the Obama administration has been advocating. What is your take on some new initiatives proposed by emerging economies, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank?

Over the last, post-World War II period, we’ve developed a number of multilateral organizations that are critically important to economic and financial stability. The IMF is a leading one, and we are committed to ratifying the 2010 IMF reforms, but the regional banks and World Bank are very significant multilateral commitments that have established track records of making certain that there are standards in place that are effective in terms of reaching goals, but also making sure that there are appropriate protections.

We look forward to learning more about the proposals that have been coming forward, but I think that questions we would ask are: how do they build on or add to the work being done by the existing multilaterals, and how do they address the concerns of standards that have been well-addressed … and we look forward to learning more about it.