U.S. Treasury No. 2 nominee Adeyemo faces questions on China in hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators are expected to grill Wally Adeyemo, President Joe Biden's nominee for the No. 2 job at the U.S. Treasury, about his views on U.S. policy toward China at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

In testimony prepared for the hearing, Adeyemo struck a hardline tone on Beijing, vowing to fight what he called "unfair economic practices" in China and elsewhere, while working to rectify economic inequality at home.

If confirmed as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's deputy, Adeyemo, 39, would play a key role in shaping U.S. economic policy on issues ranging from financial regulation to relief for everyday Americans and U.S. sanctions on foreign governments.

A former senior adviser at asset manager BlackRock Inc and the child of Nigerian immigrants, Adeyemo would be the first Black deputy secretary of the Treasury. He served as a top national security and economic adviser to Democratic President Barack Obama and held senior jobs at the Treasury.

Adeyemo said Washington should work with allies and Congress to confront countries that "threaten our economic and national security", using tools such as sanctions.

"Treasury's tools must play a role in responding to authoritarian governments that seek to subvert our democratic institutions; combating unfair economic practices in China and elsewhere; and detecting and eliminating terrorist organizations that seek to do us harm," he said, according to a text viewed by Reuters.

Treasury oversees a host of sanctioning tools, including a ban on U.S. investment in alleged Chinese military companies that was introduced by former President Donald Trump.

The ban, which has prompted market confusion since being unveiled in a November executive order, takes effect in November this year and investors are eager to learn if Biden will revoke it or clarify its scope and use it to go after top Chinese firms.

Adeyemo also called for targeted investments in critical U.S. industries and technologies, and policies to protect workers and companies from anti-competitive trade practices, signaling a hardline stance on trade issues.

Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has said he hopes to speed the nomination through as quickly as possible. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT).

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

02/23/2021 11:14

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