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Lew presses Beijing to ease exchange rate controls

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2014 at 3:32 am •  Published: May 13, 2014

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. treasury secretary pressed China on Tuesday to ease exchange rate controls and lower barriers to trade and investment.

Beijing in March widened the narrow band in which it allows its yuan to fluctuate against the U.S. dollar. But it retained controls that critics complain keep the yuan undervalued and give its exporters an unfair price advantage.

"It is important that China demonstrate a renewed commitment to move to a more market-determined exchange rate," said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in a statement before a meeting with China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang.

Lew appealed for a "more transparent exchange rate policy."

Washington wants a more "open, balanced" trade and investment relationship, Lew said. He said that would include opening China's markets wider to foreign investment and ensuring equal treatment for all companies.

Lew expressed similar sentiments earlier Tuesday in a meeting with a deputy premier, Wang Yang.

Communist leaders have promised to give entrepreneurs and market forces a bigger role in China's state-dominated economy in hopes of making it more efficient and productive.

Li promised in an annual policy speech in March that the market would be allowed to play a "decisive role" in allocating credit and other resources.

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