China hits out at US protectionism

November 16, 2009

, BEIJING, Nov 16 – China on Monday accused Washington of increasing protectionism and said US calls to let the yuan rise were "unfair", as US President Barack Obama visited the Asian giant.

Obama touched down in Shanghai late Sunday for a three-day mission aimed at convincing Beijing that Washington is its partner, not its rival.

He is expected to urge China to reconsider the value of the yuan, which has been effectively pegged to the dollar since July 2008 and is deemed by Washington as being kept artificially low to boost Chinese exports.

However, China\’s commerce ministry reaffirmed on Monday that the government would keep the yuan stable and described US pressure to let the currency appreciate as "unfair".

"It is necessary to create for enterprises a stable and predictable environment, including (stable) economic and foreign exchange policies, to help the global economy grow steadily and China\’s exports recover," said ministry spokesman Yao Jian.

Yao added that the United States had "continued" to let the dollar drop "to improve its competitiveness" while pressing for the yuan\’s appreciation.

"It is detrimental to the global recovery and is unfair for (the US) to require other (currencies) to rise while allowing the dollar to keep slumping," Yao told reporters.

Washington has angered China in recent months by imposing tariffs on Chinese tyres and preliminary duties on some steel products — moves which Beijing has slammed as protectionist and as impeding the global recovery.

Yao also lashed out at Washington\’s restrictions on high-tech exports to China, attributing the yawning US trade deficit with the world number three economy to its own "faulty" policy.

"The United States should seriously review its exports control policy, not create various trade barriers to protect domestic industry," he said.

"The United States and other Western countries were active advocators for free trade… but we now suddenly find a protective US."

Commerce Minister Chen Deming would meet his US counterpart Gary Locke later Monday to discuss, among other things, US export controls against China and the protection of intellectual property rights, Yao said.

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