China not manipulating currency - US Treasury

By Xin Zhiming (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-14 06:53

Despite pressure from the US Congress, the Bush administration yesterday refused to cite China as a country that manipulates its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage.

In its semi-annual currency report, the administration said that China did not fit the technical profile of a country that is manipulating its currency.

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The Treasury Department said while it was "obvious that the Chinese government was controlling the value of its currency against the dollar", it could not determine that this action was being done for the purpose of "gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade." That is the standard set in the law.

But it said China's currency is undervalued and pledged to keep pushing for further appreciation.

A group of Senators said yesterday they would introduce legislation to make it easier for the United States to pursue economic sanctions against China if the country does not allow its currency to rise more quickly against the dollar.

But Chinese analysts warned that any unilateral punitive measures would backfire and incur tit-for-tat measures.

Beijing "will respond" if the legislation is passed and leads to higher tariffs on Chinese goods, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said earlier.

Many economists agree that the US trade deficit stems from structural economic problems, such as a low savings rate and unrestrained consumption. The yuan revaluation will not help reduce its trade deficit, but shift the source of imports to other low-cost countries.

The US Senators' move to push for legislation against China, therefore, is not a rational move but an unleashing of emotion, Chen Xingdong, deputy managing director and chief economist of BNP Paribas Peregrine Securities, told China Daily.

"Politicians run the show to win voters."

He said it is "quite likely" that the legislation will be passed by Congress, but it remains to be seen whether it secures a two-thirds majority, which will override a presidential veto.

The legislation, in a sense, may not be a bad thing, said Mei Xinyu, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation attached to the Ministry of Commerce. It will disillusion the US public as reduced Sino-US trade will hurt the interests of US consumers and companies.

The yuan, meanwhile, has become more flexible as it fluctuated more dramatically in recent days.

The renminbi's central parity rate was 7.6282 against the US dollar yesterday, up 0.25 percent from Tuesday's 7.6475 and the second-largest single-day rise after Tuesday's 0.4 percent rise.

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