China unyielding on yuan as U.S. raises pressure

China said on Wednesday it would not waver in sticking to a stable exchange rate and was being made a “scapegoat” after Congress threatened to seek duties on Chinese goods unless it revalues its yuan.

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The heat in the long-running dispute over China’s exchange rate regime is rising quickly, with a bipartisan bill introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate that aims to press Beijing to let its yuan currency rise.

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, added to the pressure on Beijing, saying that the yuan is undervalued.

Focusing on the yuan will not help to solve problems in the Sino-U.S. bilateral trade relationship, a Chinese Commerce Ministry official told Reuters. [Read the full article]

The Pacific smelt, a small silvery fish that was a staple of Northwest American Indian tribes when the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived, is getting federal protection because it’s been declining toward extinction due to global warming and other factors.

The fish, also known as eulachon or candlefish, will be listed as a threatened species in the Federal Register on Wednesday, NOAA Fisheries Service said.

It is too early to tell whether the threatened species listing will shut down the very small commercial and recreational smelt fisheries regulated in state waters, said NOAA Fisheries biologist Garth Griffin. Those have already been reduced to a tiny impact on the population.

The Cowlitz Tribe in Washington state, which once depended on abundant catches of eulachon in the Columbia River for food and an item of trade, asked for the listing in 2007.

“The tribe just had its annual eulachon ceremony a few weeks ago and there were none for us to dip. [Read the full article]

Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. inaugurated their first joint car factory in India on Wednesday, the companies said.

The plant in the southern Indian city of Chennai is part of a $990 million joint investment and will be able to produce up to 400,000 vehicles a year by 2015.

Production of Nissan’s new sub-compact Micra will start in May 2010, with an initial workforce of 1,500, the companies said.

The Micra is Nissan’s first attempt to tap India’s fast-growing market for small cars. It will also be exported to over 100 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Production of Renault’s Koleos and Fluence cars, both for India’s domestic market, is scheduled to start in 2011.

“With the new Micra, we have the start of a product offensive in India that is supported by a localized manufacturing facility capable of making products for both Renault and Nissan,” Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said in a statement. [Read the full article]

Navigation device maker Garmin Ltd. said Wednesday that it will shift the location of its incorporation from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland.

The board approved the move and the company will ask shareholders to vote in favor of the proposed change on May 20.

Garmin follows a number of other companies that are moving out of Caribbean offshore financial havens.

“The Swiss office will provide a base for expansion of certain corporate functions in Europe and a more favorable structure from which it would be possible to acquire or partner with European businesses,” said Min Kao, chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Separately, Garmin also approved an annual cash dividend of $1.50, a one-time increase from 75 cents. [Read the full article]

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