From Overseas Press

US backs off in currency dispute with China

Updated: 2010-10-18 13:15
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The Treasury's decision may raise pressure on the Senate to approve a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would allow the United States to slap duties on imports from countries with fundamentally undervalued currencies.

"Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress are prepared to move legislation confronting China's currency manipulation this year," Schumer said. "We hope to have the administration's support but will go forward without it if necessary."

There had been speculation Obama might be tempted to label China as a currency manipulator for the first time in 16 years to look tough before the elections in which his Democrats risk big losses over discontent with his handling of the economy.

But there are concerns about angering China, whose support is needed on issues such as rebalancing the global economy, climate change and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.

In an article published on Oct 15, Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan pledged a continuation of yuan reform but only on Beijing's gradual terms.

"The yuan exchange rate will be basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level," he wrote in China Finance, a magazine published by the central bank.

The Treasury Department is mandated by law to issue a report every six months on whether any country is manipulating its currency for an unfair trade advantage.

But the last time any administration-Republican or Democrat-has cited a country under the 1988 currency law was in July 1994, when China was put in the spotlight.

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