US and China 'must make brave decisions on value of currencies'
Peter Sutherland has added his voice to the rising concerns that the US and China are heading into a showdown over currency valuations.
Mr Sutherland said the US and China had an obligation to take the lead on the issue, even if it meant making brave decisions.
He made the comments during a questions and answers session with World Bank chief economist Justin Lin at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin. The event was hosted by economist Marc Coleman.
The US and China have clashed in recent weeks over what the US believes is China's artificially undervalued currency. Officials in the US believe it gives the Asian giant an unfair trade advantage.
Mr Lin said the move from a G7 group of leading countries to the G20 that included emerging economies like Brazil and China was a permanent development. He said co-ordination by the G20 had been the key to restoring stability after the financial crisis.
The enlarge group reflected the global distribution of wealth, he said.
Mr Lin said that the recovery in the global economy remained fragile and said that high unemployment in wealthy economies remained a risk to growth.
Mr Sutherland said there was a bigger danger of protectionism today than at any time over the past 20 years.
He said moves to undo the gains of recent decades in terms of free trade would jeopardise the chances of economic recovery and hurt growth in emerging economies in particular.