Monday, 25 September, 2017

Trump defends about-face on labeling China a currency manipulator

World power whiplash: Trump reverses views on Russia, China Taiwan remains on US currency monitoring list
Howard Terry | 20 April, 2017, 00:13

However, the Treasury Department did not name Taiwan as a currency manipulator, with the administration of US President Donald Trump declining to name any major trading partner as a currency manipulator. Trump has informed that some of U.S.'s trading partners, mainly China, manipulated their currency but has since backed off that claim, and acknowledged China has not weakened the Yuan to make exports cheaper.

This was the Trump administration's first release of the twice-yearly report, which evaluates the foreign exchange policies of major US trading partners. Japan's large trade surplus will probably be high on the agenda. "This undervaluation supports the large current account surplus and reflects continued underperformance of Korean domestic demand".

The recent change in mood has been detected since Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time at Mar-A-Lago in Florida last week.

The declaration also came days after Trump - in a turnabout from his campaign stance - declared in an interview that his administration would not label China a currency manipulator, which could have triggered investigations.

That said, China remained on a "Monitoring List" of major trading partners that merit close attention to their currency practices.

The provisions of the act provide the U.S. government with monitoring tools to address "unfair" currency practices.

"China will need to demonstrate that it lacks of intervention to resist appreciation over the last three years represents a durable policy shift by letting the [renminbi] rise with market forces once appreciation resume". This was the second call Yoo made to Mnuchin, who took office in February. Although the surplus has declined compared to the end of 2015, when it was $30.2 billion and the current account was 7.9 percent of the country's GDP, it still exceeds the threshold.

In its exchange rate report to Congress, the treasury said that in spite of China's large trade surplus with the USA, it was not acting improperly to depress the value of its currency. Trump's about-face was notable because of how forceful he was in his insistence as recently as this month that China was a currency manipulator. The treasury report was being awaited with great interest until Wednesday, when Trump offered a preview in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

It is the third time that Taiwan has been on the list in the twice-yearly report since the United States began including it in April previous year.

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