Manufacturers Urge U.S. To Press China Harder On Exchange Rates

Patience is growing thin on the shop floors of American manufacturing plants says chemical executive.

American manufacturing executives on May 7 urged the U.S. government to get tougher with China on exchange rates, claiming the modest rise in the yuan has done little to ease the massive US trade deficit. The National Association of Manufacturers' U.S.-China Business Relations Task Force made the comments after meeting with senior administration officials including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

"Despite strong efforts from the administration on a variety of issues, the U.S.-China trade deficit continues to widen," said Michael Campbell, chief executive of Arch Chemicals and chairman of the task force. "The necessary appreciation of China's currency has not occurred," Campbell said, noting that China foreign currency reserves have now reached $1.2 trillion.

"Secretary Paulson understands that patience is growing thin not just on Capitol Hill but on the shop floors of American manufacturing plants. We told him we recognize that Congress cannot legislate Chinese exchange rates but we can legislate our own taxes to begin leveling the playing field."

The NAM panel commended the U.S. administration, however, for filing three cases in the World Trade Organization against China and said that Schwab "understands the need to level the playing field, notably in enforcing intellectual property rules and eliminating subsidies."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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