Asian Economies Remain Concerned About Trade with US

17 April, 2017, 04:39 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • President Trump

As expected after President Trump's recent comments, the U.S. Treasury has decided NOT to brand China a currency manipulator.

The United States has declined to label China a currency manipulator despite President 's insistent pledge during the election campaign that he would do so as soon as he took office.

Eswar Prasad, a professor of worldwide trade at Cornell University, said the administration's decision not to label China a currency manipulator was a good thing for the global economy.

"The United States can not and will not bear the burden of an worldwide trading system that unfairly disadvantages our exports and unfairly advantages the exports of our trading partners through artificially distorted exchange rates", it said.

"Treasury finds that six major trading partners warrant being placed on the monitoring list for special attention: China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan", the report said. Steven Schwarzman, chairman of the Blackstone Grou and one of Trump's top economic advisers, raised doubt that the administration would designate China as such in its upcoming report.

Although the report did not signal a major shift in Washington's own currency policy, it is likely Trump will try to use the issue as a bargaining chip in negotiations with other countries.

No country met the three criteria to be labelled a currency manipulator in the second half of 2016.

Trump declared on Wednesday that he would back away from a campaign promise to name China a currency manipulator, a move that would have created friction between the world's largest economies as they try to boost trade cooperation and address North Korea's nuclear threat.

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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", Mnuchin said.

The promise of restoring American jobs by cutting off what it considers unfair trading practices has been a signature promise of the Trump administration.

China does not fully meet the department's definition of a currency manipulator because it has recently been buying yuan to prevent a sudden drop in the Chinese currency, instead of steering it lower.

The report comes one week after mostly positive talks between Trump and China President Xi Jinping.

The report also criticized Japan for failing to do more to stimulate domestic demand and thereby increase sales of US and other foreign goods. The Treasury Department continued to call for reforms to the labor market that would improve Japanese workers' productivity, along with fiscal and monetary support for the Japanese economy.

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.

It also called on Taiwan to be more transparent in its purchases of currency on global markets.

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