By Vicki Needham - 10/15/10 06:46 PM EDT
The Treasury Department is delaying the release of a much anticipated report on whether China is manipulating its currency until world leaders complete a series of meetings on the issue.
Publication of the report on international economic and exchange rate policies is being delayed while heads of state, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20 and the Asia-Pacific region participate in several important meetings over the coming weeks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Friday in a statement.
Geithner said the delay is necessary "in order to take advantage of the opportunity provided by these important meetings" because all major economies, not just the United States and China, need to be involved in the process.
"These meetings provide an opportunity to make additional progress on the important challenge of securing stronger and more balanced growth," Geithner said in a release.
The Treasury also delayed the biannual report in the spring.
Friday's postponement comes amid intense pressure from Congress, which is pushing the Obama administration to declare, for the first time, that China is manipulating its currency to keep the value of the yuan low.
Before leaving for the recess, the House passed a bill to require the Commerce Department to consider currency values when it calculates anti-subsidy duties on imports. The Senate could take up the legislation when it returns for a lame-duck session on Nov. 15. If it becomes law, it could eventually lead to higher tariffs on Chinese imports.
China's currency has appreciated about 3 percent against the U.S. dollar since announcing a reform of its exchange rate, allowing the yuan to move higher in response to market forces, Treasury noted Friday.
Since early September, the pace of appreciation has accelerated to a rate of more than 1 percent per month, Treasury said.
"If sustained over time, this would help correct what the IMF has concluded is a significantly undervalued currency," Treasury's statement said.
— Ian Swanson contributed to this story.