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U.S. House Panel to Hold September Hearing on Yuan, Levin Says

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littlekracker


U.S. House Panel to Hold September Hearing on Yuan, Levin Says
July 21, 2010, 5:29 PM EDT

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee will examine whether there has been a “major trend” in the value of China’s currency before deciding whether Congress should impose trade sanctions, panel Chairman Sander Levin said.

The Michigan Democrat told reporters today the September hearing may help determine whether legislation to authorize trade sanctions is needed to push China to let the renminbi rise in value.

China announced in June that it would stop pegging the renminbi to the U.S. dollar. Still, China said the value of the yuan wouldn’t rise rapidly. The yuan has been kept at 6.83 percent of the dollar since July 2008, prompting accusations by U.S. lawmakers that China manipulates the currency to give its exporters an unfair advantage over competitors.

“We will see if there has been a major trend in the currency value” since China’s June 19 announcement that it would stop pegging the renminbi to the U.S. dollar, Levin said. The hearing “will include an assessment of where we are on the potential legislation,” he said.

Levin commented a day after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said that lawmakers would consider including the imposition of trade sanctions against China for currency manipulation in a package of measures intended to promote U.S. manufacturing.

The legislation aimed at China’s currency would empower the U.S. Commerce Department to impose countervailing duties on Chinese products if there is a finding that a foreign currency is undervalued by an average of 5 percent over an 18-month period.

Three days before China’s currency announcement last month, Levin said Congress would act if Beijing didn’t allow the yuan to rise in value, saying “seven years of patience” by the U.S. and other countries “have run out.”

The House voted 378-43 today to suspend duties on a variety of imported chemicals, yarns and products, a move supporters of the legislation said would help U.S. manufacturers.

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