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China calls on U.S. to oppose currency legislation

October 12, 2011 |  3:20 am

China warned the U.S. against trade protectionism after the Senate passed a bill that would slap tariffs on Chinese goods.China warned the U.S. against trade protectionism hours after the Senate, reacting to Beijing's perceived undervalued currency, passed a bill that would slap tariffs on Chinese goods.

In a written statement posted on its website, China's Foreign Ministry urged rejection of the bill.

"This proposed bill in the name of so-called 'exchange rate misalignment' is protectionism and a serious violation of World Trade Organization rules,” Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said in the statement. "This won't solve America's own economic and employment problems."

China's central bank also issued a statement Wednesday defending the value of the country's currency, known as the yuan or renminbi.

"The American Senate has repeatedly ignored the facts, has constantly pestered [China] on the renminbi exchange issue in order to find an external excuse for its own malaise," the statement said.

The legislation, which would penalize any country found to be holding the value of its currency down to create an unfair trade advantage, is largely targeted at China, which is believed to undervalue its yuan by upward of 25%.

The bill still needs to pass the House, where it faces stiff opposition from Republican leaders wary of a trade war and harm to U.S. business interests in China. The Obama administration has not demonstrated support of the legislation either.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China urged lawmakers to oppose the legislation, saying the U.S. would benefit more by pressuring Beijing to open its domestic market to American firms.


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-- Benjamin Haas

Photo: China's currency controls have been blamed for an unexpectedly large global trade surplus. Credit: How Hwee Young / EPA