New US Treasury chief Lew to visit China

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will travel to China next week for talks with China's new leadership on his first international trip since taking office, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

Lew will visit China on March 19 and 20, meeting with Chinese leaders and senior economic officials "to discuss the bilateral relationship and opportunities for cooperation and growth," the department said.

"Secretary Lew will also discuss efforts to level the playing field and create new opportunities for US workers and businesses."

Lew, who took office in late February, is making his first trip abroad to highlight the importance of the US-China economic relationship and establish ties with the new leadership, the Treasury said.

The announcement came after China's parliament earlier in the day named Xi Jinping as president, four months after he took charge of the Communist Party with pledges of reform.

Lew, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, replaced Timothy Geithner who stepped down from the Treasury at the end of Obama's first term in January, after having guided the US economy through the Great Recession and a global downturn.

During his China visit, Lew also will meet with US business leaders, the department said.