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US Treasury Chief Says World Economy Must Pick Up

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow says the global economy needs to grow faster than it has and China needs to permit its exchange rate to rise against the dollar.

Even though there are clear signs of pick-up in Europe and Japan, Treasury Secretary Snow says the global economy needs to grow faster. A growth acceleration, he says, would help remedy the trade imbalances, in which Asia is accumulating large surpluses while the U.S. trade deficit increases.

Appearing on a television call-in program, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Mr. Snow said it is time for China to move past its initial move of last July when it met U.S. requests to end its fixed currency peg against the dollar.

"That was an important step. But now they need to move further." he said. "They need to move to greater flexibility."

Secretary Snow was upbeat about the U.S. economy, calling it the envy of the world. He said growth is proceeding at a four percent pace, inflation is low, and 4.5 million jobs have been created in the past five years.

He says President Bush is on course to meet his goal of cutting the U.S. budget deficit in half by the time he leaves office in 2009.