In Time for Trade Deal Signing, US Removes Label on China

It's no longer considered a currency manipulator, Treasury decides
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2020 7:15 PM CST
In Time for Trade Deal Signing, US Removes Label on China
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin addresses reporters last week.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

As Chinese officials landed in Washington on Monday to sign a trade deal, the US presented them with a concession. The US no longer considers China a currency manipulator. The label was put in place last summer after President Trump accused the government of weakening its currency for an unfair trade advantage, making its goods cheaper to sell overseas, the New York Times reports. "China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. The decision came in a semiannual currency report from the Treasury Department. No countries merit the "manipulator" label, as defined by Congress, the report said.

The trade agreement is scheduled to be signed Wednesday. One expert said China indeed is not manipulating its currency, per the Washington Post, "so it would have been inconsistent for the US to sign the deal and continue to call China a manipulator." Many members of both parties in Congress agree that China should still bear the label, and there was criticism of the change on Monday. "Just because we're negotiating a trade deal doesn't mean we should ignore Communist China's bad acts," Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican, tweeted. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said, "Unfortunately, President Trump would rather cave to President Xi than stay tough on China." (Compensating US farmers for their losses has cost billions.)

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