Treasury Secretary Paulson Wants Action From China On Currency

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Friday that China was not moving quickly enough on currency reform, and said he hoped high-level talks next month would produce results.

"They're not moving in my judgment quickly enough," Paulson said in a speech in New York. "I feel quite strongly there's a need to move more quickly in the short term, but we need to get to a point in the intermediate term where China has a market-determined currency."

"There are many countries in world that don't have a market-determined currency, but China is by far the largest," he said, "that, in and of itself, is a bit of an unnatural act."

Paulson has been pushing China to move more rapidly to allow its currency to rise in value against the U.S. dollar as the Bush administration seeks to ward off a protectionist backlash in Congress over record U.S. trade deficits. Last year, the United States reported a record $232.5 billion trade deficit with China.

The two countries hold their next high-level talks in Washington May 23-24, the second round of what is known as the "Strategic Economic Dialogue." Paulson began those talks in China in December.