Crack down on Chinese currency manipulation: Senators to Obama

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Ahead of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, two top American Senators have asked President Barack Obama to take immediate and necessary actions to crack down on currency manipulation.

In order to protect American jobs and ensure the competitiveness of US manufacturers, Senators Sherrod Brown and Jeff Sessions called for the Administration to support the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act.

Their bipartisan legislation would use US trade law to punish countries like China that distort trade by misaligning its currency.

"China’s currency manipulation weakens our economic recovery and makes US exports less competitive, which is why we must combat it with every tool in our toolbox," the Senators wrote in a letter to Obama.

"To date, the Administration's efforts to achieve a market-based exchange rate in China have not succeeded. We believe it is time to develop a comprehensive national strategy for fighting currency manipulation and leveling the playing field for American workers and businesses.

"We believe our bill, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, is a critical component of any national effort to address China's currency manipulation, and we will push for a vote on it in Congress this year," they alleged.

According to an April 2014 report by the US Treasury Department, the Chinese yuan, or renminbi (RMB), remains significantly undervalued. But despite this evidence of misalignment, the Treasury has failed to designate China a "currency manipulator", the Senators alleged.

While the Administration applauded China's commitment during the 2013 S&ED to adopt a market-determined exchange rate, China has yet to deliver on this commitment, they wrote and called for Obama to take further action to stand up for American workers and address China's currency manipulation.

This includes supporting their bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act.

The bill would use US trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage, said a press release issued by them.

The legislation would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment—all without adding a dime to the federal budget, they said.

"US efforts to address currency manipulation have been inadequate, and the economic consequences of this failure have been too significant not to make changes to our approach," the Senators wrote.

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