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Last updated at 11:05 GMT, Monday, 21 November 2011

Obama criticises China over currency

Summary

14 November 2011

The US President Barack Obama has criticised China for not allowing its currency, the yuan, to rise in value.

The issue has been a sore point between the United States and China for several years.

Reporter
Jon Bithrey

President Barack Obama

President Obama strongly criticised China.

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Report

President Obama's comments criticising China are amongst his strongest to date. In general the US government has preferred to make its feelings known behind closed doors, cautious about upsetting one of its biggest trading partners.

During a news conference, Mr Obama said many economists believed the yuan was undervalued by between 20 and 25%, making exports to China from the US much more expensive and imports much cheaper.

He said China had to operate by the same rules as everyone else. Earlier China's foreign ministry issued a statement saying President Obama was told by his counterpart, Hu Jintao, that the problems in the American economy wouldn't be solved by an appreciation of the yuan.

President Obama is certainly under pressure on the domestic front. With the American economy still flagging, calls from politicians are mounting for tougher measures to be taken to force China to change its stance.

And with President Obama entering an election year, he may feel now is the time to raise the rhetoric.

John Bithrey, BBC News

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Vocabulary

behind closed doors

in private

upsetting

displeasing

trading partners

countries that buy and sell goods with each other

undervalued

been kept at a lower rate in relation to major currencies

counterpart

in the equivalent post

an appreciation

an increased valuation

flagging

performing weakly

mounting

increasing

stance

position

rhetoric

language designed to persuade

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