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Stable RMB good for development
( 2003-10-20 08:36) (China Daily)

President Hu Jintao said yesterday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) CEO Summit that maintaining the basic stability of the yuan's exchange rate not only is in the best interests of the Chinese economy, but also conforms to the requirements for economic development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

"The market-based, single and managed floating exchange rate system, which China is now following, is consistent with the current status of the country's development, financial regulation and the sustainability of its enterprises,'' Hu said in a keynote address to the summit, which was attended by over 1,000 participants.

He noted that China's maintenance of the yuan's stability during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when many of its neighbours depreciated their currencies substantially, made a contribution to financial and economic stability in Asia and the whole world.

"This time, we will act in the same responsible manner in the handling of the renminbi exchange rate issue,'' Hu said. "We will maintain the basic stability of at a reasonable and balanced level, and take further steps to improve the rate-forming mechanism of renminbi along with deepened financial reforms.''

Talking about China's economic prospects, the president said the 7 per cent growth target set for this year is well within reach. China recorded a growth rate of 8.2 per cent in the first half of this year, despite the interruption by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

In his speech focussing on sustained economic development, the president said that APEC should play a bigger role. He called for more exchanges among APEC members for further success in economic restructuring, which has consolidated economic recovery in this region but remains "an urgent and crucial task.''

When asked about his understanding of sustainable development, Hu said China is striving for "developed production forces, a prosperous life for the people and a good ecological environment for all.''

The president also expressed his support for an open and rule-based multilateral trading system, and confidence in the successful conclusion of the Doha round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

He said all members should continue to promote trade and investment liberalization, remove trade barriers of all kinds and create a fair and equitable environment for competition.

Hu said the Doha round of WTO talks will succeed in the end, so long as all parties persist in consultations on an equal footing in the spirit of seeking compromises while shelving differences.

Hu and other APEC economic leaders are expected to display their political will to seek a successful conclusion to the Doha round, which places agricultural reform at the heart of the long-running negotiations, at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting today and tomorrow.

In response to a question on criticism that China is not playing fairly by WTO rules, the president said the nation will faithfully abide by the organization's rules and live up to its commitments, while opening its market even wider to the world and intensifying its co-operation with the global business community.

Hu said that accelerated economic growth in China will have a win-win outcome and mutual benefits for the whole world.

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