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Snow Encouraged After Currency Talks in China - 2003-09-03


The U.S. treasury secretary says Chinese officials have pledged to eventually relax controls on the country's currency, but gave no timetable for doing so. China's fixed exchange rate has become a political issue in the United States.

Treasury Secretary John Snow emerged from meetings with Chinese officials Wednesday suggesting that no new ground has been broken in U.S. efforts to get China to remove its strict currency controls, but he qualified the discussions as good.

"I think we had good discussions and good, frank, open review of the issues, and that's a foundation for progress," Mr. Snow said.

He said Chinese officials pledged to eventually allow the currency to trade freely, but did not say when.

In the United States, there is growing political anger about China's fixed currency, which labor groups and manufacturers say makes Chinese goods unfairly cheap.

China says its fixed exchange rate is key to economic growth. Instead, sources say Chinese officials are offering other concessions to appease Washington.

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