US treasury secretary to meet with finance officials in Britain and Germany over debt crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will confer with finance officials in Britain and Germany next week about ways to restore global confidence in the financial system.

The Treasury Department announced the trip Thursday after a rough day on global financial markets. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 376 points, its biggest point drop since February 2009.

In a statement, Treasury said that Geithner will "meet with European officials to discuss the economic situation in the region and the measures being taken to restore global confidence and financial stability and to promote global recovery."

Investors are concerned that the debt problems in countries like Greece and Portugal will spread across Europe and threaten to derail the economic recovery in the United States and elsewhere.

Geithner's trip to Europe will come after he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meet in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on a range of economic and foreign policy issues. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to participate in those talks, which will take place on Monday and Tuesday.

Treasury said that on Wednesday Geithner would travel to London for a meeting with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who has just taken office in the government of new British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Geithner will then travel to Frankfurt for a meeting Wednesday evening with Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the European Central Bank, the institution that oversees the euro, the common currency of 16 European nations.

On Thursday, May 27, Geithner will meet with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin before returning to Washington that evening.