US administration signals tougher approach to China

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Wednesday signaled a new get-tough approach with China, filing two trade cases against the country before the World Trade Organization and also complaining that Beijing is moving too slowly to reform its currency system.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in prepared testimony, said the administration is considering what tools it might use to push China to move more quickly to allow its currency to appreciate in value against the dollar.
Separately, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the administration was filing two new trade cases against China before the Geneva-based WTO, which oversees the rules of global trade.
"We are concerned that China is breaking its trade commitments to the United States and other WTO partners," Kirk said in a statement.
In one of the WTO cases, the administration said China is discriminating against U.S. credit and debt card companies in favor of a state-owned financial services firm. The other case contended that China has improperly imposed trade sanctions on a type of US-made flat-rolled steel used in electric transformers, reactors and other types of power-generating equipment.