BEIJING was using its commitment to the current value of the yuan as a bargaining chip in a fresh twist in its long-running bid for World Trade Organisation (WTO) entry, it emerged yesterday. The mainland has been arguing that holding the value of the yuan was a sign of economic maturity which should be recognised in WTO entry talks. It has been playing on US fears that a yuan devaluation could trigger a new round of currency turmoil across Asia and lead to a global recession. Senior Chinese diplomats at the World Economic Forum yesterday said the mainland's willingness to risk a drop in export growth in the interests of greater stability in the region - and potentially shielding Europe and the United States from the effects of the crisis - showed it was behaving responsibly. A mainland diplomat said: 'Objectively speaking, China's behaviour and performance is a positive factor for access to the WTO.' Beijing has blamed the United States for effectively blocking WTO entry. Failure at the US-Sino summit last year to win any new commitments in WTO entry talks - in stark contrast to a successful completion of tariff negotiations with Japan - have heightened the mainland's criticism of the US stance. Vice-Premier Li Lanqing - who has just arrived in Davos with chief WTO negotiator Long Yongtu - is expected to hammer home the new position in a series of bilateral meetings with the mainland's principle trading partners. Mr Li will also meet WTO director-general Renato Ruggiero today to discuss the mainland's entry to the trade body. The mainland is expected to experience a sharp slowdown in its booming export growth as its products lose their competitive edge to those from Asian countries whose currencies have melted down. Private sector economists have warned that the mainland's export growth, about 20 per cent year-on-year last year, could fall to 4 per cent this year. The EU and the US fear a yuan devaluation could prompt a fresh slide in regional currencies, making Asian exports extremely cheap but leading to huge job losses in developed nations. Yesterday Mr Ruggiero said China's decision not to devalue must be recognised in the negotiations as an indication of its willingness to continue opening its markets. It is widely believed China will remain committed to the yuan's current level in foreign exchange markets, whatever the result of WTO talks, but most observers accept the mainland could use its position to advantage in the talks. 'It is very important when China says that it does not want to devalue,' Mr Ruggiero said. 'It is important to take the positive attitude that China has shown in order to speed up the negotiations.' Yesterday US officials said they would listen closely to the mainland's latest arguments, but denied Washington was influenced by political considerations in its entry talks with Beijing. Officials said the mainland's WTO entry attempts were only judged by the quality of its offer and its willingness to open up its markets to international competition.