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US senator considering China bill, aide says

"At this time, Sen Grassley is evaluating ... Constructive proposals to enhance our trade relations with China," the aide said.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 13:16 IST
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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley could offer legislation this year to address growing trade concerns with China, an aide to the senator said on Friday.

"At this time, Sen Grassley is evaluating ... Constructive proposals to enhance our trade relations with China," the Grassley aide said.

Grassley, whose committee has jurisdiction over trade issues, played a key role last year in blocking a Senate bill threatening China with across-the-board tariffs.

But Grassley expressed frustration earlier this week that Beijing has not moved more quickly to a market-determined exchange rate, after making a step in that direction in July.

"It's important for them to actually carry out what they say they're going to do. So if they're going to float their currency, I want to see it bobbing around on the ocean," the Iowa Republican saidin an interview.

Concern over the huge and growing US Trade deficit with China is expected to be high on Washington's agenda this year.

The US Commerce Department is expected to release final 2005 figures next week showing the US Trade gap with China set a new record above $200 billion.

The US Trade Representative's office also is expected this month to release the long-awaited results of a top-to-bottom review of trade relations with China.

Grassley is waiting to see the results of that study before making a final decision on legislation, his aide said.

"We hope that there will be a more balanced debate on the details on our relationship with China, the pros and the cons," the Grassley aide said at an off-the-record discussion on the congressional trade agenda.

Grassley's office later gave permission for the speaker to be quoted and identified as a Grassley aide.

The House of Representatives passed legislation last year aimed at several China trade irritants. However, Grassley refused to move a similar bill in the Senate.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 13:16 IST