EU urges flexibility from China over exchange rates

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 9, 2007 (AFP) – The European Union’s top monetary affairs official urged China on Tuesday to allow its currency to trade more freely in foreign exchange markets as EU finance chiefs prepared for an upcoming G7 meeting.

“China and other emerging economies should introduce more flexibility in their exchange rate management,” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters as European finance ministers met in Luxembourg.

“This is good for China’s growth, to rebalance the growth, to increase internal demand,” he added.

Finance ministers from the 13 countries sharing the euro singled out China late Monday in preparations for talks next week with colleagues from the Group of Seven richest countries with a call for Beijing to adjust the value of the yuan.

China is regularly criticised for artificially keeping down the value of its currency in order to make its exports cheaper on international markets, which also has the effect of lifting the value of the euro.

The eurozone ministers agreed to dispatch a delegation of powerbrokers to China to raise their concerns about exchange rates face-to-face with Chinese authorities.

ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet, EU Economic