March 27, 2006

Gutierrez hopes US senators postpone China bill

CHONGQING, China (Reuters) - U.S. Senators Charles Schumer
and Lindsey Graham would be wise to postpone a vote on their
bill to slap tariffs on China unless it lets the yuan rise
faster, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said on

The senators have not yet said whether they would press for
an immediate vote on their bill, which would impose a 27.5
percent tariff on China's exports to the United States if
Beijing does not act on the yuan.

The bill had been scheduled for a vote on March 31.

Gutierrez, who was summing up media reports of the two
senators' fact-finding trip to China last week, told Reuters:
"They're probably going to give their bill some time, which I
think is the wise thing to do."

Gutierrez was in the southwestern city of Chongqing before
flying to Beijing for talks on the protection of intellectual
property rights and other trade issues.

The International Herald Tribune quoted Schumer as
acknowledging differences between himself and Graham after
their trip to China.

Schumer said he believed China did want to move on the

"I'm convinced they do want to get there, which I wasn't a
week ago," Schumer told the newspaper, adding that Graham was
more skeptical.

Asked whether differences had emerged between the two
sponsors following the visit, Schumer said: "That would be

Schumer told reporters last week the senators had told
Chinese officials they would prefer not to enact the
legislation but let the Chinese leadership come to an agreement
with the government.

The yuan rose on Monday to 8.0214 per dollar, its highest
level against the U.S. currency since it was revalued in July
last year by 2.1 percent to 8.11.

(Additional reporting by Adam Cox in Singapore)