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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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