Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, U.S. President Joe Biden’s US Treasury No. 2 nominee, vowed to crack down on oppressive regimes and tackle unequal economic practices in China and elsewhere while working at home to correct economic disparity.
In testimony prepared for Tuesday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Adeyemo said that if confirmed, he would concentrate on three crucial areas: boosting US productivity, recovering the reputation of the country as a global leader, and shielding US people from threats.
Adeyemo will play a key role as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s deputy in shaping US economic policies and overseeing the immense power of the Treasury in everything from financial supervision to relief for everyday Americans and sanctions against foreign governments.
The COVID-19 pandemic remained the most urgent threat to US stability, Adeyemo said, adding that economic policy must remain focused on providing relief to those impacted by the health crisis, especially those in low-income communities and people of color who were particularly hard hit.
If confirmed, the first black deputy secretary of the Treasury will be Adeyemo, 39, a former senior advisor to asset manager BlackRock Inc. He worked under former Democratic President Barack Obama as a deputy national security adviser and later led the foundation that operates in the library of the former president.
Adeyemo, currently the subject of a thorough review by the Biden administration, is expected to be questioned about his views on US policy towards China.
“We need to work with Congress and strategically use the Treasury Department’s tools to protect our citizens from threats, foreign and domestic,” he said in the testimony, which was seen by the Reuters news agency.
“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 organisations that seek to do us harm.”
A host of penalty instruments, including a ban on US investment in suspected Chinese military firms introduced by former President Donald Trump, are overseen by the Treasury.
The ban, which has created profound uncertainty among market players since it was announced in an executive order in November, takes effect in November 2021 and investors are eager to learn whether Biden can revoke it or explain its scope further and use it to go after top Chinese companies.