Trump administration removes designation of China as currency manipulator

The Trump administration on Monday revoked its designation of China as a currency manipulator ahead of the signing of a “phase one” trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

 

The Treasury Department reversed an August decision to label China a currency manipulator in its semiannual foreign exchange policy report released Monday afternoon. The decision, which was reported in advance by multiple media outlets the same day, comes two days before Trump is set to sign a preliminary trade agreement with China. 

 

“The Treasury Department has helped secure a significant Phase One agreement with China that will lead to greater economic growth and opportunity for American workers and businesses,” said Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Business groups worry they won’t see a ‘phase two’ China trade deal | Trump officials remove currency manipulator label for China | Job numbers, stocks boost Trump in election year Trump administration removes designation of China as currency manipulator US, China resuming regular talks to resolve conflicts: report MORE.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability.”

From the start of his 2016 campaign, President TrumpDonald John Trump Democratic challenger on Van Drew’s party switch: ‘He betrayed our community’ Rand Paul pledges to force Hunter Biden vote if GOP backs Dem impeachment witnesses Trump plans to divert .2 billion from Pentagon for border wall construction: report MORE has accused China of devaluing its currency to make its exports comparatively cheaper than U.S. goods in foreign markets. While Trump promised during his campaign to formally label China a currency manipulator, the Treasury Department did not do so until trade tensions spiked last summer.

The Treasury Department designated China on Aug. 5 after Beijing allowed the yuan to fall below an exchange rate of seven yuan to one U.S. dollar. Mnuchin announced China’s designation later that day. The administration argued that the country had taken steps to devalue its currency in order to gain an unfair advantage in international trade. 

Treasury’s labeling of China as a currency manipulator caused shockwaves through financial markets, sending stocks tumbling over fears of a currency war. But tensions eased after China allowed the yuan to rise above the seven-to-one exchange rate, laying the groundwork for an October tariff cease-fire.

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Currency issues will remain a key focus in trade negotiations even if Treasury reverses China’s formal condemnation. Trump and trade protectionists in both parties insist that China takes other discreet action to push down the value of the yuan while the U.S. dollar remains strong.

“China is a currency manipulator—that is a fact. Unfortunately, President Trump would rather cave to President Xi than stay tough on China,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWatchdog group requests ethics probe into McConnell over impeachment remarks Congressional leaders have been shadow boxing on impeachment Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (D-N.Y.) in a statement Monday.

“When it comes to the president’s stance on China, Americans are getting a lot of show and very little results.”

Updated at 5:11 p.m.

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