Senators Lindsey Graham and Charles Schumer have wrapped up meetings in Beijing by saying they will press ahead with legislation to impose hefty tariffs on Chinese goods, after getting no concrete assurances that China's currency will be revalued.
The U.S. lawmakers say their four-day stop in Beijing and meetings with Chinese cabinet members have made them understand a bit better why China is not moving more quickly to let its currency float.
Democrat Charles Schumer said Thursday he is "feeling better" after learning about China's economic realities, but he says that has not changed his view that Beijing should revalue its currency.
"And you ask us, well, what about our legislation? Well, the jury is still out. We still need some concrete signs of movement," he said.
China has ruled out a sudden and large move to revalue its currency or to let if trade freely on the open market, fearing that might trigger a financial crisis. If the currency is allowed to float, it could prompt many people to move billions of dollars out of China's fragile banks, creating severe problems.
Republican Lindsey Graham says that while he appreciates China's concerns, the status quo is no longer acceptable.
"The problems in this country about underemployment, and the lack of infrastructure are tremendous; and that as the currency appreciates, that will cause problems here; and the banking system is not what they would like it to be," he said. "So, I am more sensitive now than I was before to how hard it will be to move toward a floating currency, but I am more committed than ever to make sure that occurs."
China last year removed a decade-long peg of its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar and linked it instead to a basket of currencies. That resulted in a three percent appreciation of the yuan.
Some politicians, labor unions, and manufacturers in the U.S. say the adjustment has not been enough and accuse China of deliberately keeping the yuan undervalued. They say an artificially cheap Chinese currency hurts American products' ability to compete and threatens U.S. jobs.
U.S. lawmakers are due to vote March 31 on the legislation to impose 27.5 percent tariffs on some Chinese exports to the United States.