BEIJING, Mar. 18 -- China on Thursday defended its exchange rate policy, saying the value of its currency, the renminbi (RMB), was not the major cause of the U.S. trade deficit with China.
"It is unfair and harmful to continuously depreciate a country's own currency and ask other countries to revalue their currencies in the meantime," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press conference.
Pressure on China to realign its currency has been growing in the United States. A group of U.S. senators Tuesday proposed legislation to press China to appreciate its currency, saying the yuan was undervalued.
Qin said such a move was not only harmful to Sino-U.S. trade and economic relations, but also to global trade, especially in the key period when the world economy was beginning to pick up.
Qin said the action was a bad example of protectionism, which was detrimental for the world economy's recovery and sustainable development.
He said a large part of China's exports to the United States were products that the United States no longer produced. "Other countries will fill the market in the United States, even if China doesn't," he said.
China maintained that the bilateral trade should realize overall balance, and China had made active efforts to the end, said Qin.
China hoped the United States could work with China, and take concrete steps to promote a balanced development of bilateral trade relations, especially in the relaxation of U.S. exports of high-tech products, Qin said.
He said China had not intentionally pursued the trade surplus.
Both sides needed to adopt a "calm and rational" attitude in settling trade friction and work together for a mutually beneficial solution, he said.
Qin said it was important for the two countries to value relations, conscientiously abide by the principles enshrined in the three Sino-U.S. communiques and the Sino-U.S. joint statement, respect and accommodate each other's core interests and concerns, and properly handle sensitive problems, so as to push relations back to the track of healthy and stable development.