China Hopes For IMF Impartiality In Currency Policy

Washington is pushing to raise the yuan as China appeals to the International Monetary Fund for fairness in policy decisions.

BEIJING (AP) - China appealed to the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday to be evenhanded in applying a new currency policy sought by the U.S. government to pressure Beijing over its exchange rate controls.

Saying it was speaking for developing countries, China's central bank called on the IMF to pay attention to each nation's circumstances and emphasized ''the need for evenhandedness in the practice of surveillance.''

The IMF issued guidelines Monday saying its 185 member nations should avoid exchange rate policies ''that result in external instability.''

Washington has been pushing Beijing to raise the value of its currency, the yuan, which critics say is too low and is contributing to the country's bulging trade surplus.

The new rule ''gives clear guidance to our members on how they should run their exchange rate policies, on what is acceptable to the international community and what is not,'' IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato said in announcing the decision in Montreal.

The rules cap a yearlong effort by the IMF to overhaul a surveillance program meant to promote global economic stability. The work has gained urgency as an effort to address growing global imbalances including soaring trade deficits in the United States and surging trade surpluses in countries such as China.

Beijing revalued the yuan by 2.1 percent against the dollar in July 2005 and has let it rise by 6.4 percent since then in tightly controlled trading.

But Washington wants a faster appreciation. Some U.S. lawmakers are calling for punitive action if China fails to act.

The U.S. trade deficit with China last year hit a record US$232.6 billion (euro173.5 billion).

Last week, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush declined to cite China as a country that was manipulating its currency to gain unfair trade advantages.

Washington hopes to win the IMF's support in its lobbying effort with China and sees the new rules as a way to increase international pressure on Beijing.

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