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JEREMY HOBSON: Let’s get another take now from one of the top U.S. government officials involved in the Chinese President’s visit to the United States.
Lael Brainard is the Undersecretary for International Finance at the Treasury Department and she’s with us now from Washington. Good morning.
LAEL BRAINARD: Good morning. How are you?
HOBSON: Very good. So you’re one of the government officials that’s working on the currency issue. A lot of people think China needs to let its currency increase in value. The Chinese has been reluctant to do that because of the possible affect it would have on growth. How have you been bring that issue up with Chinese officials during this visit, if at all?
BRAINARD: Well this has been the critical issue that we have been working with China on very consistently. The value of their exchange rate matters to us here because it affects the ability of Americans to export and of course exports are critical to job creation. We’ve seen a lot of progress, not enough. The President was very clear that he wants to see more.
HOBSON: So no announcement expected at least in the next coming days you don’t think?
BRAINARD: The economy agenda for the visit went across the exchange rate issue as well as intellectual property protection and just doing business-level playing field issues for American companies. So exchange rate was a piece of it, very important as we work to strengthen job growth in the recovery.
HOBSON: Alright, let me ask you one more thing. There was news today that China’s growth rate was 10 percent last year. A lot of people are worried about a bubble there. Do you think the Chinese economy is overheating?
BRAINARD: Well, Jeremy let me just flip that around. Why should that matter for the U.S.? They are our fastest growing export market as the President made very clear. It is going to be so important to us. Our exports to China grew twice as fast as to any other market in just the last 10 years alone. They weren’t even in the top 10 export destinations for U.S. manufactures 10 years ago, now they’re our number three market. So their fast rate of growth means export opportunities for us which is why the President was so determined to seize those for American workers.
HOBSON: Alright, so no argument there. Lael Brainard, Undersecretary for International Finance at the Treasury Department. Thanks so much for your time.
BRAINARD: Thank you so much.
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