WASHINGTON Jan 16 The United States is
concerned that Europe is not moving decisively to heal its banks
and that China will only slowly move toward a more market-based
economy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Thursday.
Washington has been raising pressure on Europe to boost the
region's ailing economies by revitalizing banks hit by a debt
Lew said a deal struck in Europe last month to create a fund
for dealing with future bank failures was important, but
inadequate. The fund would use bank levies to amass 55 billion
euros ($75 billion) over the next decade, a tiny sum relative to
size of bank balance sheets.
"We don't think it's big enough. We don't think it's fast
enough," Lew said at an event held by the Council on Foreign
Last week, Lew traveled to Paris, Berlin and Lisbon in part
out of concern over the region's troubled banking sector, which
has been cutting back lending to businesses.
Lew also said he does not have confidence over the time
frame of China's plans to reduce the state's role in making
"I am pretty confident that they are intent on the path of
economic reform," he said. "At the same time, I am not confident
about the time frame or which targets of opportunity will be
sequenced early in the queue."
He said the United States was waiting for the Chinese to
follow through on their plans to allow foreign companies to play
a bigger role their economy. Allowing U.S. financial firms to
compete in a planned Shanghai free trade zone, he said, "would
be a meaningful signal."
"Intentions are critical and they are important but it's
results in the end that matter," Lew said.