The U.S has officially labeled China a 'currency manipulator', accusing it of using yuan to gain "unfair competitive advantage" in trade, a move that could further escalate the tense trade relations between the world's two largest economies.
Washington's move came as Beijing allowed its yuan to fall below the politically sensitive level of seven to the US dollar on Monday for the first time in 11 years and Chinese firms have reportedly stopped buying U.S farm produce.
During the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump had promised to label China as a currency manipulator, but the Department of Treasury kept the country on its watchlist, declining to take the step.
On Monday night, the department announced, "Secretary (Steven) Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has determined that China is a 'Currency Manipulator'." Mnuchin will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the "unfair competitive advantage created by China's latest actions", the treasury said.
Earlier, Trump tweeted, "China is intent on continuing to receive the hundreds of Billions of Dollars they have been taking from the U.S with unfair trade practices and currency manipulation. So one-sided, it should have been stopped many years ago!".
(with news agency inputs)