News / Asia

China Currency Bill Passes US Senate

TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman

The U.S. Senate has voted 63 to 35 to penalize China for its currency practices after two weeks of heated debate in which many lawmakers accused Beijing of predatory export promotion policies that have cost American jobs. The bill faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives and has not been endorsed by President Barack Obama, but it already has provoked strong reactions from the Chinese government.

For years, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York has championed efforts to force the U.S. government to take action against China’s undervalued currency. The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act would do that by treating currency manipulation as a foreign subsidy, triggering U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Schumer said the stakes are high. “If we continue to lose wealth and jobs to China, we may never recover [economically] as a country. This is serious stuff," he said.

Also backing the bill is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who accused Beijing of a host of unfair economic practices. “The institution I need to be protecting is the American workforce, which is having their clock cleaned [is being beaten] by a communist dictatorship that cheats. They [the Chinese government] do not outwork us.  They do not outperform us. They steal our intellectual property. They manipulate their currency. They subsidize their industries.  So enough is enough," he said.

Opponents of the bill label it misguided and dangerous.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said, “We are telling the world community that the U.S. is turning inward once again, seeking protectionist solutions to global problems.  At the same time, we would be injecting further uncertainty into our own economic recovery as our exporters and workers face potential retaliation from one of our leading trading partners [i.e., China].”

Chinese officials have warned against politicizing trade issues, pointing out that the yuan has appreciated relative to the dollar in recent years.  Editorials by China’s state-run news media accuse U.S. lawmakers of scapegoating China for America's economic shortcomings.

Some analysts say the World Trade Organization would reject a U.S. bid to treat currency manipulation as a government subsidy.  Last month, 50 trade groups representing many of America’s most vibrant export industries argued that the legislation would invite Chinese retaliation and should be rejected.

That concern was echoed by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. “We do not need to start a trade war with China.  We need to stop the class warfare that is preventing jobs from being created right here in America," he said.

Senator Schumer had a sharp response. “To those who say it will cause a trade war, we [already] are in a trade war, to those who say China will retaliate, China has far more to lose in this than we do.  They will not retaliate big time because it will do even more damage to the Chinese economy.  When they are faced with the hard reality [of U.S. tariffs], they then adjust and play fairer," he said.

Last week, President Obama said China has been “gaming” their currency to benefit their exports and disadvantage U.S.-made products sold in China.  But he urged caution when it comes to U.S. legislation that might have unintended consequences.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has given no indication that it will hold a vote on the currency bill, without which it cannot become law.  House Speaker John Boehner says the legislation inappropriately attempts to force countries to alter their handling of their currencies.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid