Trump admin. declines to brand China a currency manipulator

15 April, 2017, 10:40 | Author: Nora May
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Trump's threat to slap harsh tariffs on Chinese goods has given way to a bid to mend fences with Beijing.

Before the elections, President Trump had vowed to label China a currency manipulator on Day One of his administration.

And although the administration's first report to Congress on the foreign exchange policies of USA trading partners continues the stance of the Obama administration, putting six countries with troublesome policies on a watch list, it takes a much tougher tone.

The decision was expected after President Donald Trump this week reversed himself and said China was not a currency manipulator.

In a statement, the Treasury said the findings and recommendations of the Report are meant to combat potentially unfair currency practices and support the growth of free and fair trade.

Over the last decade, China's effective exchange rate has appreciated more than any other major currency, rising a total of more than 40 percent, said David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Designating a country as a currency manipulator doesn't immediately trigger any penalties, but it is seen by other governments as a provocation. Such tariffs, though, could be overturned in a review by the World Trade Organization.

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"China and Germany have been included in the list of the countries, whose currency manipulations will be observed by analysts of the TreasuryDepartment", they said.

China and Germany are not manipulating the value of their currencies to gain an unfair trade advantage, but both should do more to reduce their large trade surpluses with the United States, the Treasury Department said on Friday (Apr 14). Its surplus with the United States totaled $65 billion a year ago.

The report also called on Japan to do more "to revive domestic demand and combat low inflation while avoiding a return to export-led growth".

Trump said during the WSJ interview that the US and China would instead work on improving their trading relationship if Beijing will help with the nuclear threat in North Korea. "China steals our intellectual property, doesn't let American companies compete in China, and has manipulated their currency causing the loss of millions of jobs", said Senate Minority Leader Charles E Schumer.

After a friendly meeting in Florida with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, Trump changed his mind and told the The Wall Street Journal in an April 12 interview that "they're not currency manipulators".

Trump did say he thought the dollar was "getting too strong" - a comment that sent the US currency falling, though it subsequently rebounded.

The report shows the Trump administration is taking an approach to foreign exchange based on data rather than politics, said Nathan Sheets, a former U.S. Treasury under secretary for worldwide affairs during the Obama administration. Economists say the US currency could rise further as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The reversal by the Treasury department was one of the nearly half-a-dozen instances when Donald Trump or his administration have gone back on his poll campaign promises. The administration has also put forward a draft proposal on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada that dropped some of the tougher positions Trump took during the campaign.

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