News / Asia

Momentum Building for China Currency Legislation in US

Momentum Building for China Currency Legislation in US
Momentum Building for China Currency Legislation in US
William Ide

As concerns are growing about the possibility of a global currency war, momentum is building in the U.S. Congress for the passage of legislation aimed at punishing China for its practice of undervaluing its currency. While U.S. officials, business lobbyists and trade representatives agree that China is not doing enough to let the value of its currency rise, they disagree on what solution works best.

Last week, just before U.S. lawmakers took a break before the upcoming November mid-term elections, a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives approved a bill that could open the way for punitive tariffs on products from China.

Supporters of the bill say it has raised the prospect of taking action against China that is long overdue and will finally give the U.S. government more leverage to address the undervaluation of the Chinese currency.

Charlie Blum, the executive director of the Fair Currency Coalition, says the bill is a modest first step toward overhaul of U.S. currency policy.

"An overhaul that is badly overdue, an overhaul that if not accomplished soon may contribute to a new round of currency wars similar to that that deepened the great depression [1930]," he said. " An overhaul that quite frankly all true free traders should welcome and support."

Blum made his remarks Thursday at a forum on China's currency sponsored by the Washington International Trade Association. Blum's Fair Currency Coalition is an association of steel, textile and labor groups that have pressed Congress for years on the issue.

He and other supporters of legislation argue that diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue have failed.

Blum says that while the International Monetary Fund has rules that address currency distortions and their impact on trade, it has little power to compel countries - such as China - to change.

Support for currency legislation that seek to punish China is also strong in the U.S. Senate, where a similar bill sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, has broad bipartisan support.

However, Erin Ennis, vice president of the U.S.- China Business Council says the costs of passing punitive legislation on China's currency outweighs the benefits.

"Those who say the exchange rate has a major impact on the U.S. trade deficit on U.S. jobs are selling Americans a bill of goods [being dishonest, making misleading promises]," said Ennis. "The fact is that the products that we make are goods that have not been made in the United States for years."

Ennis, who also spoke at the meeting on Thursday, says that punishing China with tariffs is unlikely to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States that moved overseas decades ago.

She says that not only is it unlikely to get China to change, it also would trigger retaliation that could damage U.S. industries.

Ennis notes that 48 hours after the United States announced duties on tires from China last year, China announced anti-dumping tarriffs against U.S. poulty and auto imports.

Ennis says her organization's investigation of the impact of that move on the U.S. tire industry revealed that the duties led to an increase in tire prices in America, an increase of their import from other countries and failed to increase overall tire production or boost employment.

Gary Horlick, a trade lawyer, says there is no doubt China will respond.

"China will retailate, they've said they will retaliate, they do retaliate, I am counsel for the U.S. poultry industry," he said. "We've been hit with 60 percent duties in retaliation for U.S. duties on tires."

Ennis says that while a multi-lateral effort to get China to adopt a market driven exchange rate has been moving "maddenly slow," it is the best approach.

"We need to accept the fact that it is a mult-lateral push on this, as the Treasury Department is calling for, that is going to get the action and not unilateral action," she said.

International pressure against China is building with both the European Union and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaking out in recent days, calling on China to let the value of its currency rise.

It is a key topic at upcoming meetings this week of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and is expected to be high on the agenda during G-20 meetings in South Korea in November.

Just before the last G-20 leaders summit in June, China dropped broke its peg with the dollar, but the currency has only risen about 2 percent in value since then. Some international economists say the Chinese currency is undervalued by as much as 30 percent.

On Thursday, China warned that economic ties might be damaged if U.S. lawmakers escalated the conflict over Chinese currency controls.

U.S. lawmakers will need to act swiftly if they'd like to get any legislation approved. They only have a brief window to pass legislation after they return from elections in November.

If legislation is not approved before the end of the current session of congress, it will die and lawmakers will have to start over.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid