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Secretary Lew Goes to China

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is in China for talks on March 19 and 20 with China's new leadership; it is Secretary Lew’s first international trip since taking office. During his China visit, Secretary Lew will also meet with U.S. business leaders.

Treasury said that Secretary Lew’s meeting with Chinese leaders and senior economic officials will focus on the bilateral relationship and opportunities for cooperation and growth. Other objectives include efforts to level the playing field and create new opportunities for workers and businesses; as well as to focus on highlighting the importance of the U.S.-China economic relationship and establish ties with China’s new leadership.

Entering 2013, China's manufacturing industry showed further improvement compared to 2012. At the end of 2012, the initial Chinese purchasing managers' index, or PMI, rose to a 13-month high of 50.4 in the 2012 fourth quarter, possibly indicating a state of accelerated expansion. Chinese exports soared beyond forecasts to rise by 20% in February 2013 from the level of a year ago, as data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed March 8, a sign that the country’s modest economic revival is intact and a suggestion that global demand might also be on the mend. China’s exports rose 21.8% in February 2013 from a year earlier. A Reuters poll of 22 economists had forecast that February exports would grow 10.1%, while imports would fall 8.8%. Export growth to the United States was the strongest in a year, and export growth to the euro zone the strongest in 18 months.

As the global economic recovery continues to gain momentum, it is still in the early stages and global economic growth remains fragile, which could impact future growth in Chinese manufacturing. China's economy has grown at an average of around 10% a year for the past three decades, allowing the country to accelerate past international competition to become the world's second largest economy. China's markets have opened to the rest of the world, trade has increased dramatically and many of China's citizens have joined an emerging middle class.

Accordingly, Secretary Lew’s discussions this week most likely will include a balanced trade and commerce policy between the U.S. and China, which would appear to be of benefit to the global economy.

Timothy Speiss is the Partner-in-Charge of EisnerAmper's Personal Wealth Advisors Group and Vice President of EisnerAmper Wealth Planning LLC. He chairs our Asia Practice and is a member of the firm’s community service group, EisnerAmper Cares.

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