Beijing: Raising Yuan Won't Help U.S.

BEIJING (AP) -- China's Foreign Ministry said Monday that complaints by the U.S. government about Beijing's currency policy are overblown and that a rising yuan would not solve America's financial woes.

Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the China-US trade gap was the result of economic globalization, the international division of labor and U.S. restrictions on high-tech exports to China.

"Many facts have demonstrated that the renminbi exchange rate is not main cause of imbalanced China-U.S. trade," Qin said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Qin's was responding to U.S. lawmakers who last week strongly criticized China's exchange rate policy, saying an undervalued yuan -- also known as the renminbi -- has cost millions of American jobs. Members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday urged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to put more pressure on Beijing to let the yuan rise.

American manufacturers contend that the Chinese currency is undervalued by as much as 40 percent against the dollar. That means that Chinese products are cheaper for U.S. consumers but American goods cost more in the Chinese market.

Last year, United States trade deficit with China totaled $226.9 billion.

China did allow its currency to rise in value from July 2005 until the summer of 2008 by about 20 percent but then abruptly halted the rise when the global economic downturn began amid concern that a stronger yuan would hurt its exports.

Qin said it was "unreasonable to politicize the exchange rate issue or use it as a cover for trade protectionism." He added that a rising yuan would not solve the trade imbalance or fix U.S. financial problems like "its low savings-rate, high rate of debt-based consumption, and high unemployment rate."

"We hope that American politicians and others concerned can seriously consider how to resolve the structural problems in their own financial system, instead of blaming others."

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