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G-20 rebuffs U.S. on China currency dispute


Leaders of the world’s 20 major economies today refused to endorse a U.S. push to get China to let its currency rise, keeping alive a dispute that has raised the specter of a global trade war amid criticism that cheap Chinese exports are costing American jobs, MSNBC reported.

A joint statement issued by the Group of 20 leaders, including President Barack Obama and China’s Hu Jintao, tried to re-create the unity that was evident when the group of rich and developing nations held its first leaders’ summit two years ago during the global financial meltdown.

But deep divisions, especially about the U.S.-China currency dispute, left officials negotiating all night to draft a watered-down statement for the leaders to endorse.

After an acrimonious start, the developed and emerging nations agreed at a summit in Seoul, South Korea, to set vague “indicative guidelines” for measuring imbalances between their economies but, calling a timeout to let tempers cool, left the details to be discussed in the first half of next year.

The biggest disappointment for the United States was the pledge by the leaders to refrain from “competitive devaluation” of currencies. Such a statement is of little consequence because countries usually only devalue their currencies — making them worth less against the dollar — in extreme situations like a severe financial crisis.

Obama said China’s currency is an “irritant” not just for the United States but for many of its other trading partners. The G-20 countries — ranging from industrialized countries such as the United States and Germany to developing countries like China, Brazil and India — account for 85 percent of the world’s economic activity.

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