Hu Pledges More Trade, Currency Reforms

Chinese President Hu Jintao, aiming to defuse growing trade tensions with the U.S., pledged April 20 to "advance the reform" of exchange rates and take steps to boost imports. "We will continue to pursue the strategy of boosting domestic demand and ensure fast and balanced economic and social development in China," Hu said during a visit to the White House.

Hu added, "We will continue to advance the reform of the RMB (yuan) exchange rate regime, take positive steps in such areas as expanding market access, increasing imports and strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights and further expand China-U.S. economic cooperation and trade."

President Bush meanwhile indicated that he expected further moves from China. "We would hope there will be more appreciation of their currency," Bush said after the talks.

China carried out a small revaluation of the yuan last July. But the U.S. administration has called for stronger action by Beijing as the U.S. had a massive trade deficit with China of more than $201 billion in 2005. Some argue the Chinese currency remains undervalued by as much as 40%, giving Chinese exporters advantages and fostering deep imbalances in global trade.

U.S. officials have been especially concerned about China failing to enforce copyright protection and block items such as pirated software and DVD movies.

In his earlier remarks, Bush sought to praise China for taking some steps to enhance two-way trade, toning down some of the critical remarks in recent weeks from his administration. "Our trade relationship can become even stronger as China adopts policies that allow US companies to compete in China with the same freedom that Chinese companies are able to compete here in the U.S.," Bush said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

TAGS: Trade
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