WASHINGTON—The Treasury Department beefed up its international economic policy-making team Wednesday by adding
the former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund.
Mr. Lipton, 67, has long experience in Democratic administrations and the IMF in handling financial crises and dealing with China. He is likely to expand the Treasury’s clout in debates on China policy.
At the IMF, China was part of Mr. Lipton’s portfolio. He made regular trips to Beijing, urging officials there to focus less on GDP growth at all costs and take a more on a balanced approach to economic development. He also warned Beijing of its deepening dependence on debt.
The IMF regularly warned that nearly every country whose debt load increased as much as China’s fell into financial crisis. The advice had some impact: China relies less now on GDP growth forecasts and has been pushing to deleverage its economy with modest success.
Mr. Lipton and Treasury Secretary
generally look at China as a source of growth for the global economy—the traditional viewpoint at Treasury. Ms. Yellen was head of the San Francisco Fed, which studies Asian economies, and head of the Federal Reserve, where she worked with the People’s Bank of China on international monetary issues.
In an administration stacked with China hawks, the two of them may represent a counterbalance in arguing that a stronger Chinese economy can also benefit the U.S.
Before his stint at the IMF, Mr. Lipton was a senior international economics official at Treasury, where he was involved in the response to the Asian Financial Crisis. Under President
he had the main White House international economic job, which is still unfilled under President Biden.
The Treasury Department also tapped the legal academic world for several tax-policy jobs, bringing critics of current business-tax rules into the government, where they will shape regulation, legislative proposals and international negotiations.
During the campaign, President Biden made a series of tax proposals that will need to be fleshed out. His administration may revise or undo some regulations.
Kimberly Clausing, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles law school, will be deputy assistant secretary for tax analysis; the school’s announcement of her appointment said she would focus on climate change and societal inequities.
Rebecca Kysar of Fordham University’s law school, who has focused in part on international taxes, will be a counselor.
Itai Grinberg of Georgetown University will get the task of representing the U.S. in the messy, stalled negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development over how to divide corporate taxes across countries and respond to digital-service taxes that disproportionately affect U.S.-based tech companies.
In addition, Tom West, a former Treasury Department official who had been at KPMG LLP recently, gets responsibility for business taxation. They join Mark Mazur, the former assistant secretary for tax policy under President Obama, who rejoined the Treasury Department last month.
The administration hasn’t yet announced its pick for assistant secretary for tax policy, the top post in that office. That person will face Senate confirmation.
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Source: WSJ – US News