Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China's exchange rate would remain stable to protect exporters, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Wen said on Saturday a basically stable exchange rate would help maintain a steady level of exports and enhance business confidence, China's state radio reported.

China will also actively seek to expand imports and accelerate the development of foreign trade, Wen said during a tour in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The international financial crisis is not over, and compared to the last one, it is in a different form. It is more confusing and complex, Wen was quoted as saying by state radio.

On Friday, Wen called for joint efforts to combat rising trade protectionism in the world and said trade friction had been politicized, the official China Daily reported on Saturday.

Speaking at the opening of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, Wen called on countries to combat the looming international financial crisis by employing rational methods to handle trade friction.

The current challenge is that there is growing trade protectionism worldwide and more trade friction is politicized, which casts a large shadow over and hurts the global economic recovery, Wen was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

China and the other nations should work hand-in-hand to open up markets to each other, Wen said.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday it would delay until later this year a ruling on whether China is manipulating its currency as Democratic Party lawmakers tried to overcome Republican opposition to a bill that would punish Beijing for its currency policies.

Beijing has already decried the U.S. legislation, which would let Washington slap countervailing duties on goods from nations deemed to subsidize exports by undervaluing their currencies, including China's yuan, which many lawmakers say is held drastically low against the dollar.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee, editing by Jane Baird)