News / Asia

US Senate to Consider Bill Targeting Chinese Currency Practices

A view of the US Capitol in Washington (File Photo)
A view of the US Capitol in Washington (File Photo)
Michael Bowman

America’s extensive yet friction-laden economic relationship with China will be the focus of debate in the U.S. Senate this week, as it considers a bill to penalize Beijing for allegedly manipulating China’s currency, the yuan, to benefit domestic exports and disadvantage foreign imports.

China's export strategy

U.S. officials have long complained that China intentionally maintains an undervalued yuan as part of an aggressive - some might say predatory - export promotion strategy.

Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary (File Photo)
Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary (File Photo)

“China’s exchange rate policy is unfair, and hurts the interests of American producers,” said Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary.

A bill garnering bipartisan support in the Senate would treat currency manipulation as a foreign subsidy, triggering U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

'Illegal' measures

“China illegally subsidizes their industries," said Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who is a sponsor of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act.
"They underpay their workers. They skirt environmental regulations, and ignore the tenets of global trade rule after trade rule after trade rule. They get away with economic murder.”

Schumer says China’s currency practices have cost the United States more than two million jobs over the last decade.

Also backing the bill is Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who says it is time for the United States to defend its interests.

“During these tough economic times, we ought not to allow any of our trading partners to rig the game in their favor," he said. "It is the job of American officials to defend the just and fundamental interests of the American workforce.”

Trade worries

Some U.S. industries squeezed by Chinese competition have welcomed the bill. But 50 trade groups representing many of America’s most vibrant export industries have written a letter to Senate leaders arguing the legislation would invite Chinese retaliation and should be rejected.

Trade expert Dan Ikenson of the Washington-based Cato Institute agrees.

“If we do something unilateral, we risk U.S. export sales to China and the jobs that go with it,” said Ikenson.

He says the World Trade Organization would likely reject an American bid to treat currency manipulation as a subsidy. Beyond that, Ikenson says, the bill before the Senate demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of trade in an inter-dependent, globalized economy.

“It used to be the case that it was our producers against their producers," he added. "But now we have globalization, and there is a lot of value-added from different countries in products that we import from China, that are snapped together [assembled] in China, for example. So currency values cut in many different ways.”

Ikenson warns against sabotaging a vast and increasingly-lucrative export market for the United States, something highlighted by U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner while testifying on Capitol Hill last year.

“China is now consuming more and importing more from the United States," he said. "As a result, China’s overall trade surplus has fallen sharply, by roughly half as a share of its economy. U.S. exports to China have rebounded much more rapidly than overall U.S. exports to the world.”

Chinese currency

A Chinese bank worker displays Chinese yuan at a bank in a Beijing (File Photo)
A Chinese bank worker displays Chinese yuan at a bank in a Beijing (File Photo)

The Obama administration says China’s currency remains undervalued, but has not endorsed the Senate bill. Chinese officials argue against politicizing trade issues, and point out that, in fact, the yuan has gradually appreciated in value since 2005.

That slow appreciation does not appear to satisfy U.S. lawmakers. With the 2012 general election looming, some legislators seem eager for a fight that will allow them to point fingers and assign blame for America’s economic woes.

Should the bill pass in the Democratic-led Senate, its enactment is far from certain. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has not indicated it will take up the legislation.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

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