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China Tells US Senators Not to Politicize Trade, Currency


China's Foreign Ministry says U.S. lawmakers should not play politics or pressure China on its currency, the yuan. The comment follows legislation in the U.S. Senate that would penalize China for maintaining what its proponents say is an undervalued yuan. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang noted to reporters Thursday the U.S. Senate bill has yet to be voted on. He said congressmen should take a wider view of China-U.S. trade relations.

"We hope the American side, the U.S. congressmen, can view from a strategic perspective the importance of healthy and stable development of China-U.S. economic relations, appropriately deal with economic and trade frictions between the two countries, not politicize economic and trade issues, and not try to resolve issues by exerting pressure," he said.

A group of U.S. Senators introduced legislation Wednesday that would punish countries that manipulate their currency for unfair trade advantage.

U.S. lawmakers and manufacturers say the yuan, also known as the renminbi, is undervalued by as much as 40 percent, making Chinese goods artificially cheaper, costing millions of American jobs, and contributing to the massive U.S. trade deficit with China that, last year, rose to more than $232 billion.

China argues American companies make much of the profit from U.S.-China trade and that Americans benefit from cheap goods.

Qin said China would continue to reform its currency regime.

"The reform of the reniminbi's fluctuation will, from now on, better reflect changes of market supply and demand," he added. " We hope the American side can objectively and fairly recognize this."

China introduced a more flexible currency system in July 2005 after years of pegging the yuan to the U.S. dollar. Since then, the value of the yuan has gone up by about eight percent.

The U.S. Treasury Department Wednesday agreed China's currency is undervalued, but declined to label China a "currency manipulator."

The U.S. Senate bill is expected to have wide support, and, if it passes, could lead to China being labeled a country with a "misaligned currency". That would allow U.S. companies to seek anti-dumping duties against China.

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