Paulson walks fine line in China

Scott Tong Mar 8, 2007
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Paulson walks fine line in China

Scott Tong Mar 8, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson ended a three-stop trip to Asia with a speech in Shanghai today. You might think he got tough about Washington’s No. 1 issue: the Chinese currency. You’d be wrong. Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


SCOTT TONG: Paulson spoke mainly about financial services in China: How the stock market needs more foreign investors. How consumers here need more access to foreign banks.

Some of these reforms are happening, just too slowly for Washington.

HENRY PAULSON: Our policy disagreements are not about the direction of change, but about the pace of change.

One economist called the speech mild, if not bland. Another described it as Econ 101.

Why no fireworks? Shaun Rein runs a market research firm, CMR.

SHAUN REIN: When you’re trying to work with China’s government, you can’t push them in any way. Jumping up and down and saying ‘Listen to me, I know what’s best for China,’ if you do that, the Chinese government is going to do the exact opposite, even if they agree with you.

Rein says Paulson is walking a fine line here — speaking softly to his Chinese audience, yet pushing just enough to satisfy critics in Washington who are concerned about an imbalanced trade relationship.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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