US Treasury: China not a currency manipulator

Posted April 26, 2017

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (Taiwan OTC: 6549.TWO - news) and Switzerland also were again included on Treasury's monitoring list.

No major trading partner is manipulating its currency for an unfair trade advantage, according to the first foreign-currency report released by the US Treasury Department under US President Donald Trump on Friday.

The department, however, concluded that no major US trading partner is manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage, suggesting President Donald Trump has backed away from his campaign pledge to label China a currency manipulator.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said ensuring a level playing field for United States businesses is an "essential component of this administration's strategy".

The report did call out China's past efforts to hold down the yuan's value, saying this created a long-term "distortion" in the global trading system that "imposed significant and long-lasting hardship on American workers and companies".

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"Expanding trade in a way that is freer and fairer for all Americans requires that other economies avoid unfair currency practices, and we will continue to monitor this carefully", he said.

The report showed the high priority the administration puts on addressing trade imbalances and said it would be "scrutinizing China's trade and currency practices very closely". "Treasury is committed to aggressively and vigilantly monitoring and combating unfair currency practices".

The Opposition Democratic party leaders slammed Trump Administration for going back on its poll promise.

The United States has stopped short of branding China a currency manipulator, but urged the world's second-biggest economy to let the yuan rise with market forces and embrace more trade.

The move was apparently taken out of consideration for China, which the US hopes will help rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. "And no doubt Beijing will manipulate its currency in the future unless it is deterred in some way", said Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents industry and steelworkers.

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Schumer also said that the best way to get China to cooperate on North Korea was to be tough on them with trade, which is first thing the Chinese government "cares about".

Separately, the United States president has also commissioned a review of all the US's trade deals and barriers faced by its exporters with a view to finding out why the country has such an enormous trade deficit (2.7pc of GDP in 2016, which is large by trade deficit standards).

"Moreover, China continues to pursue a wide array of policies that limit market access for imported goods and services, and maintains a restrictive investment regime which adversely affects foreign investors".

"China now has an extremely large and persistent bilateral trade surplus with the United States, which underscores the need for further opening of the Chinese economy to American goods and services", as well as quicker reforms to boost household consumption, according to the Treasury report.

The accompanying report used similar language to describe China's past interventions in exchange markets - a shift to a more forceful tone from prior reports issued under the Obama administration, but not one with immediate practical consequences.

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