China lambasts U.S. trade bill, won't adjust yuan

Wed Mar 7, 2012 7:29am EST
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By Lucy Hornby and Aileen Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) - A U.S. trade bill targeting Chinese imports goes against international rules and Beijing will not adjust the value of its currency to try to bridge a trade deficit that is Washington's problem to fix, China's commerce minister said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama is set to sign the bill into law to allow duties to be imposed on subsidized goods from China and Vietnam, which the White House says will protect American jobs.

"We follow the rules of the WTO, but we have no obligation to follow domestic laws or regulations in any specific country that go beyond international rules," Commerce Minister Chen Deming told a news conference on the sidelines of an annual meeting of parliament.

He said China had done a better job of bringing balance to global trade than the United States, bringing its trade surplus down to 2.1 percent of economic output in 2011 while the trade deficit of the United States was 4.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Chen said it was clear that the United States had a responsibility to close its own deficit.

"Why did the U.S. have a $700 billion overall trade deficit? Why did China have an overall trade surplus of only $150 billion but a trade surplus of $200 billion with the United States?" Chen responded rhetorically to a journalist's question.

"Every man, free from prejudice and armed with common sense economics can come to the right conclusion," Chen said.

Chen's comments come a day after the U.S. Congress passed the bill that Obama is set to sign into law. A U.S. court ruled in December that the U.S. Commerce Department did not have authority to impose countervailing -- or anti-subsidy -- duties on goods from "non-market economies."   Continued...

A general view of a container port in Shanghai February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song