Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Chinese officials hedging their bets over adjusting yuan

AFP , DALIAN, CHINA,

China's Commerce Minister Lu Fuyuan (呂福源) said yesterday his government wants to maintain the stability of the yuan, but did not rule out making adjustments in the future.

"At the current stage, we want to keep the value of the yuan stable, but that does not mean we will not make adjustments in the future," Lu told reporters at the end of an Asia-Europe economic ministers meeting.

China's top priority when deciding the value of its currency is its own economic situation, while the interests of the outside world come next, he said.

"I don't believe that any country primarily considers the international community when deciding its exchange rate policies," he said. "The first thing all countries have in mind is their own domestic economic situation."

China's policy makers are faced with a complex task as they have to take into account economic growth, job creation, foreign trade and the stability of the currency at the same time, he said.

The three-day Asia Europe Meeting of economic ministers has gathered high-level officials from 25 Asian and European countries who have discussed the world economy and the need to restart stalled global trade talks.

Although the yuan was not on the official agenda for the meeting, it has been an issue both at the meeting and on the sidelines.

EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy brought up the issue of the US dollar, the euro and of Asian currencies during the meeting of the ministers' meeting, Lu told reporters.

South Korean Trade Minister Hwang Doo-yun also told reporters during the meeting that Seoul was "concerned" about the yuan.

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