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Geithner plans China sidetrip

By David Ellis, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will meet with a top Chinese official this week, possibly opening the door to a discussion over the value of China's currency.

Geithner, who has been in India this week, will add a trip to Beijing to meet with Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

"The Secretary and Vice Premier have been working together to find an opportunity to meet in person for some time," Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said in a statement to CNN.

The focus of the talks is unclear. However, it's expected that the value of the yuan could be the main topic of their discussion.

A number of U.S. officials have blasted the Chinese government in recent months for allegedly undervaluing its currency. China has denied such accusations.

The low exchange rate keeps Chinese exports cheap and has been blamed for the widening trade gap between China and the United States, as well as the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States.

The yuan, which has been pegged to the dollar for several years now, is about 20% to 40% below where it would be if the currency were allowed to float freely, according to economists' estimates.

News of the Geithner's meeting with China came just days after the Treasury delayed the release of a report to Congress on the exchange rate policies of its major trading partners.

The report, originally slated for April 15, names those countries it believes to be "currency manipulators." Many have wondered whether China could be included in that list, which would further strain relations. To top of page

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