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Senators push for China currency bill

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1 Senators push for China currency bill on Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:06 pm


Senators push for China currency bill
By Doug Palmer Doug Palmer Mon Dec 13, 2:07 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators on Monday launched a last-ditch effort to get the Senate to vote on a bill to pressure China to raise the value of its currency, a move that would rankle Beijing ahead of top-level talks.

Senators Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and Olympia Snowe, a Republican, want to offer a currency bill already passed by the House of Representatives as an amendment to a high-priority Senate bill to extend expiring tax breaks.

"Addressing Chinese currency manipulation is vital to getting our economy back on track, which is why the Senate should act quickly," Brown said in a joint statement with Snowe.

Beijing's currency policies long have been a sticking point in U.S.-Sino relations. It is likely to be one of the top issues when U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in January.

The House currency bill, passed in late September, addresses concerns that China undervalues its yuan currency by anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent to give its companies a price advantage in international trade.

China held the yuan steady against the dollar for nearly two years but relaxed its peg against the dollar in mid-June. Since then it has risen about 2.4 percent.

Many U.S. lawmakers blame Beijing's currency practices for the huge trade deficit with China, although most economists say it is only one of many factors.


The U.S. trade deficit with China is the largest with any country and this year could top $270 billion, surpassing the 2008 record of $268 billion.

The deficit totaled nearly $229 billion in the first 10 months of 2010, up 20 percent from the same period in 2009.

"Our amendment would, at long last, make certain our government is prepared to investigate currency manipulation policies and penalize violators of global trade rules, whose distortions and inequities have undercut the ability of our nation's workers to thrive and compete both nationally and world-wide," Snowe said.

The House bill will die if it is not approved by the Senate during the current Congress, which ends by January 5.

It was not yet certain what, if any, amendments Senate leaders would allow to be considered as part of the tax bill.

"We are working out the amendment process" with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The push by the two senators came as Chinese officials were gathering in Washington for high-level trade talks under an annual forum called the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce Trade, or JCCT.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the Obama administration's official in charge of currency policy, will meet Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Tuesday before the formal JCCT meetings, a Treasury spokeswoman said.

The House passed its currency bill in late September by a solid bipartisan vote of 348-79.

The bill clarifies the Commerce Department's authority to treat currency undervaluation as a subsidy under U.S. trade law so that companies could apply for offsetting countervailing duties against imports from China on a case-by-case basis.

2 Re: Senators push for China currency bill on Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:40 am


amazing what they "stick" in other bills that have NOTHING to do with each other...thanks mom

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