WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday the Obama administration will push China forcefully to open its markets and maintain fair trading rules.

Interviewed during an appearance before a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Geithner repeated that it was important for China to move toward a flexible currency rate regime and added that he felt Beijing understands it was in that nation's own interest to do so.

We have an enormously productive, beneficial relationship with China today, he said. It's hugely important to companies large and small across the country.

But he said it was very important that China rely less on exports and move over time to a more flexible exchange rate system. (Reporting by Glenn Somerville and Emily Kaiser; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)