China Says U.S. Guilty Of Protectionism

MUMBAI, India (AP) - A senior Chinese central bank official on Thursday accused the United States of protectionism, weeks after Washington imposed penalty tariffs on coated paper imports from China.

Wu Xiaoling, vice governor of the People's Bank of China, said Washington's measures could hurt the global economy.

''If the U.S. takes protectionist measures against China's trade, that will not only undermine Chinese interests, but it will also harm interests of the U.S. and the rest of the world,'' Wu told reporters during a visit to Mumbai, India's financial capital. ''Trade protectionism is not good for any country.''

Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed penalty tariffs on coated paper imports from China, in a move to placate growing resentment among American businesses who accuse Beijing of unfair trade practices, including an artificially undervalued currency - the Chinese yuan - that distort global trade.

Also, the U.S. administration has repeatedly asked Beijing to crack down on the copyright theft of products such as movies, music and software.

Wu said Thursday that China will reform its exchange rate system in a gradual manner, while keeping its own interests in mind.

She also argued that the exchange rate was not the only factor driving China's trade surplus, which rose 74 percent to $177.5 billion last year. The surplus is a reflection of China's economic success, she said, suggesting Chinese exports are more competitive than others.

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