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

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

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs