China announced a near-record US$23.8 billion trade surplus in February, hours after the central bank promised to make the renminbi more flexible, AFP reported. Authorities said the surplus was almost 10 times the figure a year earlier and nearly matched the record of $23.8 billion set in October, which is certain to spark more protests that China keeps the renminbi deliberately undervalued to gain an export advantage. February exports totaled US$82.1 billion, up 51.7% year-on-year. In response to the surplus, some US senators have suggested levying a 27.5% tariff on Chinese goods and even called for a cancellation of China's most-favored nation status, which gives it preferential policies as a developing country. Chinese officials firmly opposed the idea, suggesting it violated the rules of the World Trade Organization.