Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Treasury released its semi-annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies Monday. This was the 14th opportunity under the Obama administration for Treasury to name China a currency manipulator – an opportunity it passed on by not citing the country after its egregious devaluation in August.
Said Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul:
“I’m not surprised that the Treasury Department refused to identify any currency manipulators in its report, though it’s still incredibly disappointing news for American factory workers. Governments and central banks in countries like China, South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere regularly intervene in currency markets to bolster their domestic industries, often at our expense.
"The consequences are clear. Manufacturing job growth in the U.S. has reversed over the summer. Our record-high trade deficit with China in 2014 may be surpassed this year. We maintain large manufacturing trade deficits with South Korea, a current free trade partner, and with Japan, a prospective one.
"By passing the buck yet again, the Treasury Department is likely eroding confidence that any currency half-measure agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal will be aggressively implemented.
"It's a clear signal that Congress needs to pass the customs and trade enforcement bill, and in particular the bipartisan Senate provision that would strengthen domestic trade laws and our response to currency manipulation.
"American workers and businesses have no recourse under existing laws to seek relief under domestic trade laws on the basis of currency manipulation. Enacting such a tool would certainly create more American manufacturing jobs than the TPP."
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in September, "We're going to hold China accountable on currency." But with this report, their words appear empty and without force once again.