Washington: Coming down heavily on China for giving its companies an unfair price advantage, a leading Republican Presidential aspirant vowed to designate the nation as a "currency manipulator", while a top Democrat lawmaker said the undervaluation of Yuan will be one of the top three economic issues before the US Congress when it resumes.

"I will clamp down on the cheaters. And China's the worst example of that. They've manipulated their currency to make their products artificially inexpensive," Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential aspirant, said at Las Vegas.

"It's hollowed out many of our manufacturing facilities in this country; that's unacceptable. I will label China as it is, a currency manipulator, and I will go after them for stealing our intellectual property.

"They will recognize that if they cheat, there is a price to pay," Romney said.

The huge US trade deficit with China, which hit USD 273 billion last year, and high unemployment rate have raised concerns among American about Beijing's trade policies.

Meanwhile, Democrat lawmaker Steny Hoyer told reporters, "Three items in particular we (Congress) want to focus on. First is the manipulation  of currency by China and by others that make their goods cheap to sell in America and American- made goods, which are quality goods, expensive to sell in our trading partners' countries."

"That's not consistent with the rules. It's not fair to our workers. And we want to make sure that we turn that around," he said at a news conference attended by more than half a dozen Democratic Party Congressional leadership.

Releasing his economy policy, Republican Romney said on the first day of his presidency, he would sign an executive order that would direct the Department of the Treasury to list China as a currency manipulator in its biannual report and direct the Department of Commerce to assess countervailing duties on Chinese imports if it does not move to float its
currency.

If nominated by the Republican Party, Romney would challenge incumbent Barack Obama in the US Presidential elections in November 2012. But to bag the nomination, he will have to defeat more than half a dozen other aspirants in the series of primary elections slated to be held beginning early next year.

"China presents a broad set of problems that cry out urgently for solutions. It is time to end the Obama administration's acquiescence to the one-way arrangements the Chinese have come to enjoy," he said.

"We need a fresh and fearless approach to that trade relationship. Our first priority must be to put on the table all unilateral actions within our power to ensure that the Chinese adhere to existing agreements."

He said on "my first day in office I will send five bills to Congress and issue five executive orders that will get government out of the way and restore America to the path of robust economic growth that we need to create jobs."

If the US wants the Chinese to play by the rules, "we must be willing to say no more to a relationship that too often benefits them and harms us," he said.

Romney said as a President, invested with Trade Promotion Authority, he would explore the possibility of agreements with dynamic emerging economies such as India and Brazil. "Though such agreements would be a significant challenge to negotiate and conclude, the economic benefits
would be substantial."

"Similarly, an agreement with the European Union would be an enormously complex challenge, but a united Europe is a natural partner for such a venture, and the benefits would be large: perhaps approaching USD 200 billion in GDP growth for the United States and Europe combined.

"Even incremental expansion of the European-American trading relationship would yield tremendous economic dividends," he argued. Romney said he will seek to build a constructive relationship with China but will no longer tolerate its practices that unfairly benefit the Chinese economy.

As president, Romney will take unilateral action and also partner with other nations affected by China's refusal to participate responsibly in the global economy, his campaign office said.

The Democrats have said they would bring legislation against currency manipulation, but clarified that it will not be a country specific.

"The legislation does not deal with a specific country. Clearly China, we believe, is in fact manipulating its currency so, as I said, Chinese goods are cheaper here, and American goods are more expensive there, which undermines our workers... But the legislation itself is not
country-specific," Hoyer said.

"It (legislation) says that any trading partner that manipulates their currency to affect that end would be sanctioned under the legislation."

Besides currency manipulation, Hoyer said the lawmakers want to have a strategy on manufacturing.

"We want to have a plan. Every team that wins does so because they have a plan of how they're going to win, what plays they're going to run, who's going to do what, how we create an environment in which manufacturing can expand. So we need a manufacturing strategy. We've suggested legislation to ensure that we have that," he said.

"And last but certainly not least of the over 30 or 40 different bills that we have in our 'Make it in America' agenda and that is the infrastructure bank... We need to make sure that we leverage significant amounts of private sector capital along with public capital in a partnership to expand
and invest in infrastructure," he added.

(Agencies)