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Now E.U.’s griping about China currency

Jill Barshay Oct 9, 2007
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Now E.U.’s griping about China currency

Jill Barshay Oct 9, 2007
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KAI RYSSDAL: You’ve probably seen or heard this story before — you definitely have on this program: that government leaders are pushing hard to get China revalue its underpriced currency, the yuan.

But you’ll need subtitles for this version. Today, it was the Europeans who were getting cranky over cheap Chinese imports — imports made possible by a cheap currency. From New York, Marketplace’s Jill Barshay reports on whether the EU has the economic leverage to get Beijing to budge.


JILL BARSHAY: European finance ministers huddled today ahead of the G7 Summit to strategize for the meeting on October 19. And for the first time, they’ve decided to target the Chinese currency as their number-one demon.

Morris Goldstein follows the chinese currency, also known as the RMB, at the Peterson Institute.

MORRIS GOLDSTEIN: They’ve finally woken up and smelled the espresso. Heretofore, they were allowing the U.S. to make that case that the RMB needed to go up in value and the Chinese government needed to stop keep it from going up.

Ken Rogoff of Harvard University says Europe’s real gripe is with the dollar. The yuan is loosely pegged to the dollar, and the dollar keeps falling.

KEN ROGOFF: With the Chinese currency fixed, the Europeans have to bear the brunt of the adjustment — and the Euro goes up against the dollar even more than it would otherwise.

That means European goods like Airbus planes become relatively more expensive than Boeing’s. The Euro is soaring so high that for Europeans, Chinese goods keep getting cheaper and cheaper. That means that Europe is becoming even less competitive in the global marketplace.

Europeans hold out hope that their negotiators will be able to sway Beijing. Washington has gained little ground in its contentious battle with China over the yuan.

Although China wasn’t even invited to this G7 meeting — as it was last year — currency experts don’t expect Beijing to budge any time soon.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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