WASHINGTON — Furious about what is largely viewed as a policy of undervaluing its currency by China, three GOP House members introduced legislation Wednesday that would slap 40 percent tariffs on Chinese imports. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last Friday.

“If China gives itself a 40 percent advantage by illegally manipulating its currency, then I say let’s put a 40 percent tariff on all their goods to level the playing field,” said co-sponsor Rep. Cass Ballenger (R., N.C.), who is taking the side of textile and furniture producers in his rural district who claim an undervalued Chinese yuan is allowing cheap Chinese imports to gain an unfair advantage.

Reps. Phil English (R., Penn.) and Mark Green (R., Wisc.) are the other sponsors.

Last week, the Bush administration received vague assurances from the Chinese they would at some point rethink how their currency is valued.

On Tuesday, Senate sponsors of similar legislation, Republicans and Democrats, raised similar objections. One co-sponsor, Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), said that he’s received some heat on the issue. Schumer said, “A big retailer in New York called me and said, ‘We don’t want this. I buy goods from China.’”

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