Chinese President Hu Jintao is making a state visit to Washington this week, during which there will be considerable discussion about the economic relationship between China and the United States. Last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner discussed a number of issues that will be on the agenda, and also spoke about what the U.S. must do to be more competitive. Selections from Geithner’s January 12 address follow:
“In any discussion of China, I think it is important for Americans to understand the solutions to our challenges in the United States rest first and foremost in the policies of Washington, not of Beijing.
Fundamentally, how many jobs and how much wealth we create will be the result of the choices we make in the United States – not the choices of others.
“In our efforts to rebuild and put Americans back to work, we have to make sure we are making the investments and reform that will be essential to our capacity to grow in the future.
“As countries like China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies grow and expand, we want the American economy, American workers, and American companies to play a major role in – and gain substantial benefits from – that growth.
We want to see a substantial part of that growing demand outside of the United States met by goods and services that are created and produced in the United States, and fueled by investment in the United States.
“If we are successful in doing that, we will be stronger as a nation.
“But to be successful in meeting that challenge, there are things we must do.
“We must invest more in research and development.
“We must invest more in educational reforms.
“We must create stronger incentives for investment in the United States, by both American and foreign companies.
“We must be more forceful and effective in promoting American exports.
“And we must restore fiscal responsibility. This will require the government to spend less and spend more wisely, so that we can afford to make the investments that are critical to future growth. And it will require tax reform that produces a system that is more simple and more fair, that encourages growth and investment, and that will help restore fiscal sustainability.
“These are our challenges. And they are not just an economic imperative, they are a national security imperative. Our strength as a nation depends on the ability of our political system to move quickly enough to put in place solutions to our long-term problems.
“Our great strengths as a country have been in our openness to ideas and talent, our capacity to innovate, our excellence in higher education, a willingness to invest public resources strategically in scientific research and discovery, and the political will to confront challenges with wisdom and force.”