Schumer Will Push Currency Measure Aimed at China
A bipartisan group of Senators said they will pass legislation this year meant to push China to raise the value of its currency, the yuan.
Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York who has proposed similar legislation for the past six years, said the measure would have “broad bipartisan support,” and is likely to at least pass the Senate this year.
The bill “will send a clear message” to President Hu Jintao, Schumer told reporters in Washington. Hu is set to arrive in Washington tomorrow for a summit with President Barack Obama.
The lawmakers complain that China’s intervention in the foreign exchange market keeps the yuan artificially weak, giving its exporters an unfair advantage over their American competitors. Schumer estimated that the yuan is undervalued by as much as 40 percent.
The legislation, which will be officially introduced when the Senate returns from a break next week, would allow domestic manufacturers to seek duties on imports from any country that is found to have a currency that is “fundamentally misaligned.”
If the practice continues for a year, the administration would be required to file a complaint at the World Trade Organization.
The House of Representatives passed similar legislation last year; the measure was never considered in the Senate. The dynamic of last November’s election may make it a priority this year, said Robert Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat and supporter of the bill.
“Whenever that argument” about China’s currency “was made in the 2010 election it was widely popular,” Casey told reporters. “There is a bipartisan dynamic to this now, which is rare for an economic issue.”
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