U.S.' Lew says must avoid competitive devaluation in meeting with Aso

October 7, 2016 11:18 PM EDT

Jack Lew, United States Secretary of the Treasury, is seen during a meeting with students at Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), in Mexico City, Mexico, in this September 29, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido


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By Leika Kihara

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew stressed the importance of adhering to a Group of 20 agreement to refrain from competitive currency devaluation in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday.

"Secretary Lew underscored that the commitments made by the G20 in Shanghai to use all policy tools ... to promote growth, refrain from competitive devaluation and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes," have contributed to confidence in the global economy in recent months, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Lew and Aso met on Friday on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings.

In an earlier news conference on Friday, Lew said Washington "continued to emphasize the need" for countries to refrain from "begger-thy-neighbor" policies of attempting to weaken their currencies to revive their economies.

Japanese policymakers have frequently threatened to intervene in the currency market to stem sharp yen rises that could hurt exports. Washington has consistently warned Tokyo against intervening, branding such attempts as competitive devaluation.

In the news conference, Lew welcomed Japan's decision to postpone a second sales tax hike and compile a fiscal stimulus package to revive growth.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)



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