The yuan has “appreciated significantly” against the dollar in the past several years and the U.S. wants continued, faster gains, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke said.
Because China’s inflation rate is higher than in the U.S., there has been “significant movement of the currency,” Locke said today in Hong Kong in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Of course we in America would like it to continue to appreciate and much faster.”
The value of the yuan has been a sore spot in ties between the world’s two biggest economies for years. While members of the U.S. Congress have accused China of deliberately suppressing the yuan’s value at a cost to American jobs, President Barack Obama’s administration in November declined to label the country a currency manipulator.
The yuan has gained about 9.6 percent in nominal terms since People’s Bank of China removed the currency from a two-year-old peg to the dollar in June 2010. With higher inflation in China, the real gains have been larger.
Locke said China and the U.S. are committed to closer ties and he sees the relationship “getting stronger than ever before.”
“Both sides are committed to even closer collaboration and partnership,” he said.
On cybersecurity, Locke said the U.S. is “engaging with the Chinese on this at very, very high levels.” His comments followed reports last week that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal had been victims of hacking attacks originating in China.