The Obama administration said on Tuesday that China's currency remained "significantly undervalued," but stopped short of labeling the world's second-biggest economy a currency manipulator.

Although Beijing controls the pace at which the yuan can rise, the U.S. Treasury said in a congressionally mandated semi-annual report that China did not meet the legal requirements to be deemed a currency manipulator.

The label is largely symbolic, but would require Washington to open discussions with Beijing on adjusting the yuan's value.

It has been 18 years since the U.S. Treasury has designated any country a manipulator. China was labeled a manipulator between 1992 and 1994.

China has lost an appeal to the World Trade Organization following complaints about its restrictions on raw materials exports. The ruling, however, does not affect Beijing's stranglehold on the supply of rare earths, the crucial metals found in many high-tech products.

A WTO appeals panel said that Beijing violated global trading rules by curbing exports of nine raw materials, including bauxite, coke, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

The panel ruled that the export restrictions inflated prices and gave domestic Chinese firms an unfair competitive advantage. Western producers applauded the WTO's decision.

It's a hot august afternoon in Beijing, and student Li Yanan is shopping with a friend at the Joy City mall, in the city's Xicheng district. The mall offers plenty of Western brand-name stores -- Quiksilver, Levi's, French Connection -- all looking much as they do in other malls around the world.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China) announced it welcomed President Obama's emphasis on economic collaboration during his first presidential visit to China. While the president was in China, both Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk addressed AmCham-China members, underscoring the importance the administration places on the role of business in the US-China bilateral relationship.

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