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Senate committee approves Treasury undersecretary nominee

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Senate committee has approved the Obama administration's nominee for the Treasury's top post for international affairs, clearing the way for a final vote in the full Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to confirm Nathan Sheets as Treasury's undersecretary for international affairs, a spokesman for the committee said in an email late on Thursday.

Sheets is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate, though it was unclear when that would take place.

The committee also approved the appointment of Robert W. Holleyman, the former head of information technology lobby group BSA/The Software Alliance, as deputy United States trade representative.

Sheets, a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew who was nominated by President Barack Obama in February, would play a key role in U.S. financial diplomacy, including Washington's tense relationship with China over currency policies.

Sheets told lawmakers in June he would continue to press Washington's view that China should let market forces determine the value of its currency. The Treasury and U.S. manufacturers say China's currency is undervalued, giving its exports an advantage in global markets.

Prior to his post at the Treasury, he was the global head of international economics at Citigroup in New York, a position he held since 2011.

Before that, Sheets was an economist at the Federal Reserve and advised former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on international economics.

The Treasury post was previously occupied by Lael Brainard, who stepped down last year and was nominated and confirmed to the Fed's board of governors.

(Reporting By Moriah Costa and Jason Lange; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Bernadette Baum)

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