US: China not currency manipulator

Updated: 2011-02-05 08:37


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WASHINGTON - Major trading partners of the United States, including China, did not manipulate their currencies to gain an unfair advantage in international trade in 2010, according to a report released by the US Treasury Department on Friday.

"Based on the resumption of exchange rate flexibility last June and the acceleration of the pace of real bilateral appreciation over the past few months," China's behavior did not qualify under the official definition of manipulation, the Treasury said in its long-delayed semiannual report to the Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies.

With respect to exchange rate policies, ten economies were reviewed in this report, accounting for nearly three-fourths of US trade. Many of the economies have fully flexible exchange rates. A few have more tightly managed exchanges rates, with varying degrees of management.

"No major trading partners of the United States" met the standards identified by the Congress as currency manipulator, concluded the report.

Since the June 19, 2010 announcement by China's central bank of greater exchange rate flexibility, its currency, also known as renminbi (RMB) has appreciated 3.7 percent against the dollar, or about 6 percent annualized. The renminbi has appreciated 26 percent in total against the dollar since 2005.

The Treasury said that because inflation in China is significantly higher than it is in the US, the RMB has been appreciating more rapidly against the dollar on a real, inflation- adjusted basis, at a rate which if sustained would amount to more than 10 percent per year.

The US accuses Beijing of keeping its currency undervalued, flooding the country with cheap exports and costing US jobs. But many economists believe that the appreciation of RMB will help little to the US employment.

"Treasury today again made the right call on China's currency policy in its latest exchange rate report," John Frisbie, President of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) said in a statement after the US Treasury Department'report.

"While USCBC believes that China should allow its exchange rate to better reflect market forces, designating China as a ' manipulator' would achieve nothing. USCBC continues to support the Obama administration's approach of combined multilateral and bilateral engagement with China as the most effective way to make progress on the exchange rate issue."


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