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Currency Provisions in U.S.-China Trade Pact May Not Be New

来源:纽约时报    2019-03-11 06:14

        BEIJING — A pending trade agreement between the United States and China could put few restrictions on Beijing’s control over the strength of its currency, potentially inflaming trade hawks in Congress and within the Trump administration itself.        北京——美国和中国之间悬而未决的贸易协定,可能不会对北京操控人民币汇率方面施加多少限制,这可能会激怒国会和特朗普政府内部的贸易鹰派。
        China’s control over the value of its currency has long been a major point of conflict between Beijing and the West, though the issue has faded in prominence in recent years. Lawmakers and officials in other countries have contended that Beijing has unfairly weakened China’s currency, the renminbi, compared with the American dollar and other currencies, giving Chinese companies and factories an advantage when selling goods abroad.        长期以来,中国操控人民币汇率问题一直是北京和西方之间的一个主要冲突点,不过近年来这个问题已经逐渐平息。其他国家的议员和官员都认为,中国政府不公平地压低了人民币兑美元和其他货币的汇率,使中国企业和工厂在向海外销售产品时占有优势。
        China has long denied the accusation.        中国长期以来一直否认这个指控。
        Yi Gang, the governor of China’s central bank, said at a news conference on Sunday morning in Beijing that during high-level trade talks last month in Washington, “the two sides reached consensus on many key and important issues” about currency markets.        中国央行行长易纲周日上午在北京举行的新闻发布会上表示,上个月在华盛顿举行的高层贸易谈判中,就汇率领域“双方在许多关键和重要问题上达成了共识”。
        The consensus included an understanding that both countries would avoid devaluing their currencies to achieve a competitive advantage for their exports, Mr. Yi said. Both countries would also continue to comply with previous currency agreements among the Group of 20 economies, he said. Both countries would also maintain close communication about currency markets and would disclose detailed information in accordance with International Monetary Fund standards, he added.        易纲说,双方达成的共识包括,两国不搞竞争性贬值。他表示,两国还将继续遵守历次G20国峰会的承诺。他还说,两国将就外汇市场保持密切沟通,并将按照国际货币基金组织的标准披露数据。
        American officials have taken varying stances on the currency provisions. President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have expressed satisfaction with them. But Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, cautioned Congress in testimony two weeks ago that nothing was fully resolved in the trade negotiations until everything had been settled.        美国官员在汇率条款方面的立场则不尽相同。特朗普总统和财政部长史蒂文·马努钦(Steven Mnuchin)对此表示满意。但美国贸易代表罗伯特·E·莱特希泽(Robert E. Lighthizer)两周前在作证时警告国会,在一切敲定之前,贸易谈判中没有任何问题是得到彻底解决的。
        Though the issue has ebbed as China’s currency has strengthened in recent years, the trade war has given it new relevance. The renminbi fell 10 percent against the American dollar between February and October last year, to the intense annoyance of trade hawks in the Trump administration.        尽管随着人民币汇率近年来走强,这个问题已有所减弱,但贸易战给它带来了新的意义。去年2月至10月,人民币兑美元汇率下跌了10%,这让特朗普政府的贸易鹰派大为恼火。
        In effect, that partly offset the 25 percent tariffs the Trump administration imposed over the summer on $50 billion a year in Chinese goods. It fully offset, at least temporarily, the 10 percent tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed last fall on an additional $200 billion a year in Chinese goods.        实际上,这在一定程度上抵消了特朗普政府夏天对每年500亿美元的中国商品征收25%的关税。它还至少暂时性抵消了特朗普去年秋天对每年另外2000亿美元的中国商品征收的10%的关税。
        But the renminbi’s fall corresponded to a credit crunch in China and the precipitous slowing of the Chinese economy. Chinese officials contend that the renminbi’s fall reflected the strength of the dollar, not currency manipulation on their part. Miao Yanliang, the chief economist at the Chinese central bank, the People’s Bank of China, noted in a recent statement that the euro fell against the dollar at about the same pace as the renminbi from February to October last year, while the British pound fell even faster.        但人民币贬值与中国的信贷紧缩和经济急剧放缓相呼应。中国官员认为,人民币贬值反映的是美元的走强,而不是他们在操纵汇率。中国人民银行首席经济学家缪延亮最近在一份声明中指出,去年2月至10月,欧元兑美元汇率与人民币汇率下跌的速度大致相同,而英镑则下跌得更快。
        Since the end of October, the renminbi has recovered nearly half its losses during last year’s slide. Foreign investors have poured money into China’s stock market and bond market. They hope to profit from China’s recent program of extra government spending and tax cuts, now being enacted to offset the economic slowdown.        自去年10月底以来,人民币已收复了去年一半的跌幅。外国投资者纷纷涌入中国股市和债券市场。他们希望从中国最近的政府额外支出和减税计划中获利,这些计划目前正在实施,以抵消经济放缓的影响。
        The currency provisions of the evolving trade agreement are essentially a reaffirmation of the statement that the G-20 economies, including China, issued when the group’s finance ministers gathered in Shanghai in February 2016.        正在演变的贸易协定中的汇率条款,本质上是重申包括中国在内的20国集团(G20)财长2016年2月在上海开会时发表的声明。
        In the Shanghai currency accord, all the group’s finance ministers agreed that they would not deliberately devalue their currencies with the purpose of achieving a competitive advantage for their exports. When a country’s currency falls in value, that makes the country’s exports less expensive and more competitive in foreign countries.        在上海发表的货币协定中,所有成员国的财政部长都同意,他们不会为获得出口竞争优势而故意让本币贬值——当一个国家的货币贬值时,它的出口产品就会更便宜,在国外也更具竞争力。
        But the Shanghai currency accord, like the currency provisions in the Sino-American trade agreement now being negotiated, still allowed currencies to move up and down for lots of other reasons. These reasons include differences in interest rates and varying investment flows, as well as trade surpluses and deficits.        但同目前正在谈判的美中贸易协定中有关汇率的条款一样,上海的汇率协议依然允许汇率因其他许多原因上下波动。这些原因包括利率差异和变化的投资流动,以及贸易顺差和逆差。
        China has long contended that these variables determine what happens to the value of its currency, and that it does not deliberately undervalue its currency to help exporters.        长期以来,中国一直坚称,人民币汇率的走势是由这些变量决定的,中国没有故意让人民币贬值以帮助出口商。
        The Shanghai currency accord did not require China to peg its currency at a specific value with respect to the dollar. Nor did it require China to maintain stability in the value of its currency with respect to a weighted average of the currencies of China’s trading partners.        上海的货币协定并未要求中国将人民币汇率与美元挂钩。它也没有要求中国保持人民币价值相对于中国贸易伙伴货币加权平均汇率的稳定。
        Beijing argues that it is fairer to measure the renminbi’s value against a so-called basket of currencies of its trading partners, and not just against the dollar.        北京辩称,用所谓一揽子贸易伙伴国货币来衡量人民币价值更为公平,而不仅仅是用美元来衡量。
        The Shanghai currency accord also required G-20 finance ministers to notify each other of major changes in currency policy, and to disclose data in compliance with I.M.F. standards.        上海的汇率协议还要求20国集团的财政部长相互通报货币政策的重大变化,并按照符合国际货币基金组织标准披露数据。
        In August 2015, China unexpectedly devalued its currency with no warning and very little explanation. It then quietly let the currency slide further from December 2015 through early January 2016.        2015年8月,中国出人意料地让人民币贬值,没有发出任何警告,也几乎没有做出任何解释。然后,从2015年12月到2016年1月初,中国悄悄地让人民币进一步贬值。
        Japan had pushed hard for the Shanghai accord because of Japanese exporters’ alarm over the Chinese devaluation.        由于日本出口商对中国货币贬值的担忧,日本一直在大力推动上海的协定。
        That devaluation helped China’s exporters a little, but it came at a very high cost to Beijing. Once the renminbi started sliding, it proved very hard to stop. The central bank ended up spending $1 trillion of its $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to stabilize the currency.        人民币贬值给中国出口商带来了一点帮助,但对北京方面来说,代价非常高昂。事实证明,一旦人民币开始贬值,就很难停止。中国央行最终动用了4万亿美元外汇储备中的1万亿来稳定人民币汇率。
        Mr. Yi said on Sunday that the central bank now had a target of maintaining foreign exchange reserves of at least $3 trillion. The reserves have fluctuated at about that level for the past three years and totaled $3.09 trillion in February.        易纲于周日表示,中国央行目前的目标是保持至少3万亿美元的外汇储备。过去三年,外汇储备一直在这一水平上下波动,二月份外汇储备总额为3.09万亿美元。
        That leaves very little room for the Chinese central bank to intervene again in currency markets without falling below the threshold set by Mr. Yi.        在不跌破易纲所设下限的情况下,中国央行再次干预外汇市场的空间非常小。
        The accusation by American officials that China manipulates its currency is based on a period from early 2001 to the summer of 2014 when the Chinese central bank did sell renminbi and buy dollars on a massive scale to keep the renminbi weak and help exporters.        美国官员指控中国操纵人民币汇率是基于2001年初至2014年夏季的一段时间,当时中国央行确实大规模抛售人民币、买入美元,以保持人民币疲软,帮助出口商。
        China’s foreign reserves ballooned 24 fold in that period, rising to $4 trillion from $166 billion and dwarfing every other country’s reserves.        在此期间,中国的外汇储备膨胀了24倍,从1660亿美元增至4万亿美元,使其他国家的外汇储备相形见绌。
        But since then, Chinese officials have struggled to prevent the renminbi from falling. As the Chinese economy has slowed, many Chinese companies and families have looked for ways to send money out of the country, potentially destabilizing not just the renminbi, but also the Chinese financial system.        但自那以来,中国官员一直努力阻止人民币贬值。随着中国经济放缓,许多中国企业和家庭都在想方设法把钱汇到国外,这可能不仅会破坏人民币的稳定,还会破坏中国金融体系的稳定。
        Beijing has responded since 2016 with increasingly draconian restrictions on capital movements. Using the formidable investigative and surveillance capabilities of the Chinese police, the government has jailed large numbers of people involved in surreptitious movements of cash abroad.        自2016年以来,北京方面的回应是对资本流动施加越来越严格的限制。政府利用中国警方强大的调查和监视能力,将大量参与秘密向海外转移现金的人投入监狱。
        The crackdown has almost completely halted what had been a flood of Chinese money into American real estate and even European soccer clubs in 2015 and early 2016. China now approves few overseas acquisitions by its companies except in areas where it could acquire a geopolitical or military advantage, such as aircraft production, heavy manufacturing, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.        在2015年和2016年初,中国资金大举流向美国房地产,甚至欧洲的足球俱乐部,但此次打击行动几乎完全阻止了这一趋势。除了在飞机生产、重型制造、网络安全和人工智能等可能获得地缘政治或军事优势的领域以外,中国目前很少批准本国企业进行海外收购交易。
        Mr. Yi spoke on Sunday at the annual news conference of the central bank’s leadership, held in conjunction with the 11-day session of the National People’s Congress.        易纲是在周日举行的央行领导年度新闻发布会上说这番话的,与此同时,为期11天的全国人民代表大会正在举行。

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