The president repeatedly promised to do so during the 2016 campaign.
The Treasury Department’s semi-annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies is due to be released on April 15, and folks who care about monetary policy were fired up.
One reason? It would be the first real opportunity for the Trump administration to label China a currency manipulator — something that President Trump had pledged to do on his first day in office.
But Trump played spoiler in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday afternoon, saying his administration won’t label China a currency manipulator in the report because “China hasn’t been manipulating its currency for months and because taking the step now could jeopardize his talks with Beijing on confronting the threat of North Korea.”
Trump’s flip-flop immediately drew criticism on from some on the left, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.):
Unfortunately POTUS' failure to name China a currency manipulator is symptomatic of a lack of real, tough action on trade against #China.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 12, 2017
China steals our IP, doesn’t let American comps compete in China, & has manipulated their currency causing the loss of millions of jobs.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 12, 2017
When POTUS fails to label China a currency manipulator, he gives them a green light to steal our jobs & wealth time & time again.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 12, 2017
Democratic Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.) also criticized Trump’s decision, saying that “President Trump’s failure to take strong action against China’s unfair trade policies will only further empower China at the expense of hardworking Americans.”
So, where does the Alliance for American Manufacturing stand in the currency debate? Here’s AAM President Scott Paul, who called Trump’s decision a “missed opportunity.”
President Trump isn’t the first president to talk tough on China and then fail to deliver on the question of currency, of course. Former President Barack Obama had 16 chances to label China a currency manipulator and passed all 16 times.