Geithner assures China that U.S. can handle its deficit

The Treasury secretary also pointed to the new healthcare law and Obama's debt panel as ways that will help reduce the deficit.

"The healthcare reforms adopted earlier this year will produce substantial reductions in healthcare costs," he said. "We have established a bipartisan Presidential Commission to recommend by the end of this year additional measures to achieve further reductions in our long-term deficits."

Geithner also used the speech to congratulate China on recognizing that a reform of its exchange rate would help global economic reform. He did so without mentioning the word "currency."

"Allowing the exchange rate to reflect market forces is important not just to give China the flexibility necessary to sustain economic growth with low inflation, but also to reinforce incentives for China's private sector to shift resources to more productive higher value-added activities that will be important to future growth," he said. "We want to encourage you to go further and take additional steps to make sure that companies that export to China, that operate in China and that compete with Chinese companies around the world are competing on a level playing field."