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Pressure on RMB will not help -- Wen
By Zhang Dingming & Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-16 22:22

Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated yesterday that China would not yield to external pressure as it reforms the renminbi exchange rate mechanism.

"The reform of the renminbi exchange rate is an issue concerning China's sovereignty," Wen was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying yesterday during a meeting with a United States Chamber of Commerce delegation. "Any pressure or media play-up, or the politicization of an economic matter will not be conducive to resolution of the issue."

As long as conditions get ripe, he said, the Chinese Government will take the initiative to advance the exchange rate reform without any pressure from outside the country.

On the contrary, Wen said, if conditions are not available, the Chinese Government will never hastily take any action, regardless of how great the pressure from outside is.

China, as well as every other nation, has the absolute right to choose exchange rate systems and appropriate levels of the exchange rate that fit into the specific conditions of the country.

And China will abide by the rules of market economy to advance the reform, he added.

Wen's remarks were the latest show of opposition from the Chinese Government to foreign interference in its widely watched reform of the renminbi exchange rate, which some of its major trading partners, particularly the United States, complain is undervalued.

The US Government proposed in the first quarter to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese commodities if the Chinese currency was not revalued, a move Wu Xiaoling, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank, said last week would only impede China's plan to further exchange rate reform.

The proposal, which was passed by the US Congress last week, slapped import quotas on three categories of Chinese textiles, a move Wen described as "not good" for the development of bilateral trade.

The European Commission is also considering similar measures to control the flow of textiles from China.

Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Chong Quan said yesterday the measures harmed the interests of not only Chinese textile makers but also foreign-funded ventures.

"About 70 per cent of the export growth this year was accounted for by foreign-invested companies," he said.

Chong said the Chinese Government had taken a series of steps, such as issuing export permits and encouraging self-regulation in the industry, to slow the growth of textile exports.

The measures have taken effect as statistics showed that China's textile exports grew some 18.4 per cent year-on-year in the first four months of this year, down 5.3 per cent on the growth rate of last year, he said.

The spokesperson called on the United States and European Union to adhere to the principle of free trade so the disputes could be solved through communication and co-operation.

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