China tries to ease U.S. trade tensions

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BEIJING—China’s government gave a muted response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ legislation targeting its currency practices, reflecting Beijing’s interest in minimizing a dispute that could threaten the $300 billion in annual trade flows between the two countries.

The bill, which faces uncertain prospects of actually becoming law, would permit though not require the U.S. to levy tariffs on goods produced by countries found to have undervalued currencies. Many U.S. lawmakers have long contended that China’s tightly-controlled exchange rate gives unfair support to its exporters.

The U.S. move highlighted long-simmering trade tensions between the two nations, and has raised fears that the U.S. and China could be on a path to an economically damaging trade conflict.

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