WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Monday called on Chinas President Hu Jintao to adopt a more market-oriented exchange rate for the yuan, a senior US official said after a face-to-face meeting of the leaders. Obama stated his view that it was important for... a sustained and balanced global economic recovery that China move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate, said senior National Security Council official Jeff Bader. The two leaders met in Washington following a stormy period in US-China relations, ahead of a 47-nation nuclear security summit. International critics say that China keeps the rate of its yuan artificially low against other foreign currencies to boost exports. Bader said the yuan issue, a sore point in Sino-US relations, cropped up as the two leaders reviewed the situation of the global economy, recovering from the worst financial crisis in decades. He refused to say how Hu reacted to the yuan concerns. China has defended its exchange rate policy as necessary for the survival of Chinese manufacturers and to support jobs growth. Speculation mounted last week that China was preparing to alter its exchange rate policy and allow for the yuan to appreciate, after US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made a hastily arranged visit to Beijing. Lawmakers in the United States, which has a massive trade deficit with China, had been pushing the US Treasury to label Beijing a currency manipulator a move that would open the door to sanctions by Washington. But the Treasury announced the delay of a report that was due in mid-April and which could have slapped China with the manipulator tag, with Geithner saying there were better ways to advance US interests. Obama also asked Hu Monday to remove Chinas market barriers that have become a concern to American business leaders. The president also noted his concern over some market access issues, market access barriers, in China and the need to address them as part of the rebalancing effort, Bader said. He did not identify the barriers but a recent US government report to Congress said China had erected new hurdles to foreign competition with rules favoring domestic firms. The report by US Trade Representative Ron Kirk cited a directive by China stipulating that sellers of high-tech goods must contain Chinese intellectual property for them to be included in a government procurement catalogue. Accredited products will be favored, according to the policy, which foreign firms say effectively excludes them from the process. A recent American Chamber of Commerce in China survey found that 38 percent of members felt unwelcome to participate in Chinas market, up from 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. The survey cited discriminatory govt policies and inconsistent legal treatment.