【英语中国】盖特纳谈中国渐进主义及美国道德威信

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2010-11-23 02:41

小艾摘要: For the past two years, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had to battle a financial crisis, a recession and questions about his own personal role as the crisis unfolded. Now he enters a new phas ...
For the past two years, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had to battle a financial crisis, a recession and questions about his own personal role as the crisis unfolded. Now he enters a new phase likely to be dominated by international challenges, as well as a tough political climate at home in which he has to drive the administration's effort to achieve budget stability.

Mr. Geithner spoke to The Wall Street Journal's Gerard Baker about a number of these hot-button topics, including China's currency, U.S. tax policy and the administration's desire to smooth relations with the business community.

Here are edited excerpts of that conversation.

China's Gradualism

GERARD BAKER: Larry Summers last night said that the most important thing that history would record when it looks back in 50 or 100 years will be how the U.S. handled the emergence of this extraordinary new economic power, China.

You've spent a lot of time dealing with exactly that issue, particularly with the currency issue. China has, as we know, been reluctant to revalue its currency. You've just come back from important meetings in Asia.
Can you tell us now what we can realistically expect China to do?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: China is letting its currency rise. It's moving very gradually. They are very averse to a precipitous large move, which I understand. But they're letting it rise because if they don't let it rise, then all that fundamental economic pressure is going to end up in inflation or it's going to end up in asset price bubbles -- things that could threaten their capacity to grow in the future.

They're having a big debate in China about how fast they should let it rise. And you're going to see that debate play out over time.
Sometimes it's going to result in a move toward gradualism and inertia. Sometimes you're going to see it result in favor of people who want to let the market flow through the exchange rate.

MR. BAKER: Most economists would say that the currency is at least 10% to 20% undervalued. Is China actually going to let the currency go to a level that seems more appropriate?

MR. GEITHNER: I think they will. I think they have to. The question is how it happens.

It's either going to happen through inflation or it's going to happen through inflation pushing up the real value of the currency or it's going to happen by letting the nominal exchange rate move.

Moral Authority

MR. BAKER: The U.S. has been criticized very heavily in the last few weeks. The Germans have complained about quantitative easing. They've complained about U.S. economic policies. The Chinese have, too. Has the U.S. in these international debates lost some of its moral authority?

MR. GEITHNER: I think it's important to recognize as an American that the crisis caused a huge amount of damage to our credibility. People looked at the United States slip into crisis, and they thought, have we lost the capacity to manage our financial affairs prudently? And it's going to take us a while to dig out of that loss of credibility. And that's probably why we've worked so hard and so quickly to make sure that we were addressing the biggest weaknesses in our financial system, so that our financial system was no longer a source of risk and threat to the global financial stability.

And it's why it's so important that we keep working very hard to make sure we're not just digging out of this hole much more quickly, but that we start to address our long-term fiscal challenges.

MR. BAKER: Don't the critics have a point that the U.S. is basically doing the same -- devaluing its currency -- in just the same way that the Chinese are?

MR. GEITHNER: You're trying to get me to speak about monetary policy, which I won't do.

Gerard Baker

美国财政部长盖特纳(Timothy Geithner)过去两年忙碌异常,既要应对金融危机和经济衰退,还要努力消除外界对其在危机过程中个人所担角色的质疑。如今,他步入了一个新阶段,笼罩其间的主要问题很可能是国际挑战和严峻的国内政治气候,而对于解决国内政治问题,盖特纳需力促美国政府实现预算稳定。

盖特纳接受《华尔街日报》副总编辑贝克(Gerard Baker)的采访时,谈到了一系列敏感话题,其中包括中国的人民币政策、美国的税收政策以及美国政府有意理顺其与商界关系的愿望等。

以下是采访内容节选:

中国的渐进主义

贝克:美国国家经济委员会主任萨默斯昨晚说,再过50年或100年,历史所铭记的最重要的事情,就是美国如何把握中国这个非同凡响的新经济体的崛起。

你对于应对中国崛起这个问题花了大量时间,特别是在人民币问题上。而就我们所知,中国一直不愿重估人民币币值。你前不久刚在亚洲开完了重要会议返回美国。

你能否告诉我们,从现实角度我们可以期待中国在人民币问题上怎么做?

Ralph Alswang for The Wall Street Journal美国财政部长盖特纳盖特纳:中国正在让人民币升值,升值步伐非常缓慢。他们很不乐意让人民币大幅升值,这我可以理解。但他们还是在让人民币升值,因为如果不这么做,所有经济基本面的压力最终都会化为通货膨胀或资产泡沫,从而可能影响中国未来的经济增长能力。

中国国内现在就人民币应以多快速度升值的问题正展开激烈讨论。随着时间推移,你们将会看到那些讨论。

有时辩论会导致人民币渐进缓慢升值的举措。有时其结果又会偏向于那些希望让市场决定人民币汇率的人。

贝克:经济学家多半会说,人民币至少被低估了10%到20%。中国真的会让人民币升到一个看似更加恰当的水平吗?

盖特纳:我认为会的,因为他们不得不这么做,问题是如何实现。

要么是借助通货膨胀,要么是依靠通胀推高人民币实际币值,抑或是提高人民币名义汇率。

美国的道德威信

贝克:美国在过去几周受到严重抨击。德国人抱怨美国的定量宽松货币政策和经济政策,中国人也颇为不满。美国是否在这些国家的声讨中丧失了一些自己的道德威信?

盖特纳:我认为,作为一个美国人应意识到,美国的经济危机对我们国家的信誉造成了很大的损害。人们眼瞅着美国陷入危机,心里琢磨着:我们是否丧失了审慎管理财务状况的能力?要恢复这方面的信誉,我们还需要花一些时间。这也是为什么我们如此努力工作且动作如此迅速,其目的就是要确保我们设法解决的是美国金融系统中最大的弱项,我们要使自己的金融体系不再成为风险源头,不再威胁全球金融稳定性。

正因如此,我们要继续努力,确保我们不仅仅尽快摆脱当前的困境,还要开始应对长期的财政挑战。

贝克:批评人士的观点认为,美国让美元贬值,这从根本上说不是与中国的所作所为是一样的吗?

盖特纳:你是想套我的话,让我谈货币政策,我不会上当。

Gerard Baker

(本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。)

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