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China has 'no intent' to seek advantages via devaluation

(Global Times)    12:01, February 25, 2017

(Photo/Yangcheng Evening News)

China said on Friday it has no intention of using currency devaluation to its advantage in trade, responding to an assertion from US President Donald Trump that China is "grand champion" of currency manipulation.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday he had not "held back" in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, just hours after his new Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing's foreign exchange practices.

Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, told a daily briefing on Friday that he hoped the US could "fully and correctly" view the exchange rate issue.

"China has no intention of seeking foreign trade advantages via an intentional devaluation of the renminbi. There is no basis for the continued devaluation of the renminbi," Geng said.

"If you must attach the label 'grand champion' to China, then I think China is a grand champion. But we are the grand champion of economic development," Geng noted.

Trump has frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, "stealing" American manufacturing jobs, said Reuters.

But he did not act on a campaign promise to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

"Interfering in the foreign exchange market is the right of a sovereign state's government. It is the same with the US… Manipulating exchange rates - another concept different from interference - is for malicious purposes," He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for WTO Studies, told the Global Times.

Hours before Trump's remarks, Mnuchin said he was not ready to pass judgment on China's currency practices.

Trump's delay in designating China as currency manipulator after taking office late January as well as the disagreement between Trump and his Treasury secretary pointed to difference within the Trump administration remains, Li Hai-dong, a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday.

Asked if the US Treasury was planning to name China a currency manipulator any time soon, Mnuchin said he would follow its normal process of analyzing the currency practices of major US trading partners, Reuters reported.

The US Treasury is required to publish a report on these practices on April 15 and October 15 each year.

"We're not making any judgments until we continue that process," Mnuchin said in his first televised interview since formally taking over the department last week.

"Secretary Mnuchin underscored that he looked forward to fostering strong US-China engagement during his tenure," said a readout from the US Treasury spokesperson on February 17.

"The secretary emphasized the importance of achieving a more balanced bilateral economic relationship going forward. He conveyed his commitment to working with the Chinese leadership on a comprehensive set of economic, financial, trade and investment, and illicit finance issues," the statement said.

Mnuchin has adopted a professional approach toward China whereas Trump jumped to his conclusion by intuition, blaming China for manipulating currency simply based on the fact that China has a favorable balance of trade, a Beijing-based expert on US studies who declined to be named, told the Global Times on Friday.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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