SPRINGDALE, Ark. (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday he is not concerned that the crisis in Japan would impede the U.S. economic recovery, and the focus is more on offering humanitarian relief.
Speaking at a small company in Northwestern Arkansas, Geithner said he was confident Japan had the ability and resources to deal with the repercussions from the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated the country and shut down a huge part of Japanese production.
When asked if the situation in Japan would create a pause in the U.S. recovery, Geithner said: “I am not particularly concerned about that, but of course a lot depends on how the events in Japan unfold.”
Toyota Motor Corp has already announced plans to slow some U.S. production. Mazda Motor Corp has suspended orders from U.S. dealers for Japan-built vehicles for now because of a shortage of parts due to disruptions in production in Japan.
“Our focus is really what it should be now, helping Japan deal with the humanitarian consequences of the tsunami and the earthquake and the risk of a deeper more protracted problem at that particular nuclear plant,” Geithner said.
He added that the United States would do whatever it could to help Japan deal with the disaster and manage the reconstruction efforts. Fears of radiation are escalating in Japan as the country tries to prevent its crippled nuclear power station from a meltdown.
Geithner met with business leaders in Arkansas on Friday, as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to work with the private sector to spur economic growth and jobs.
The U.S. economy has been showing steady signs of recovery after the 2007-09 financial crisis, but there are fears that the crisis in Japan coupled with high oil prices will hamper growth.
“The U.S. economy is healing,” Geithner said after touring the privately-held nanotechnology company NanoMech.
Earlier on Friday, the Obama administration released a report that said its plan to expand and make permanent a popular research tax credit will support 1 million workers.
The proposal is included in Obama’s 2012 budget proposal and is popular among businesses and both political parties, though paying for the cost to fund the credit will likely delay enactment.
NanoMech, which employs around 30 people, has received a number of government research and development tax breaks.
Editing by Diane Craft