China and the U.S. are vying for approval at the G20

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference at the end of the G-20 summit at the Excel center in London -- April 2, 2009

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: World leaders from the 20 richest countries will meet tomorrow in South Korea for the G20 summit. It had looked like the gathering would be 19 countries ganging up on China. But last week the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to pump new money into the global economy. That's meant some of the criticism has shifted to Washington.

Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz is with us from Shanghai to sort it all out. Hi Rob.

ROB SCHMITZ: Hey Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: After the Fed began printing all this money, the quantitative easing as it were, a lot of countries were very angry. What about China?

SCHMITZ: They didn't like it either. You'd think that China would want to send Ben Bernanke a thank you card for redirecting the anger away from Beijing's currency policies, but no such luck. The U.S. seems to have become the new official scapegoat. But this whole blame game could be dangerous. I spoke with Arthur Kroeber today. He's an economist here in China. He thinks all this political posturing might derail the whole summit.

ARTHUR KROEBER: The G20 is supposed to get beyond the search for scapegoats and towards a mature coordination of macroeconomic policy. So that's the question. Will they do that, or will they just sit around blaming each other?

CHIOTAKIS: So let's say they stop pointing fingers and actually try to work something out. What would that look like?

SCHMITZ: Well, for economic policy makers in both the U.S. and China, here's the underlying issue: China produces too much and consumes too little and the U.S. has the opposite problem. And that's created a huge trade imbalance and it's betting bigger according to trade figures that came out today from the Chinese government. If China and the U.S. could come out of these meetings with an agreement to diminish that imbalance, then they might just be able to save what could be a pretty ugly summit.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz in Shanghai. Thanks, Rob.

SCHMITZ: Thanks, Steve.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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