WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) responded to the U.S. Treasury Department’s report that stopped short of designating China as a currency manipulator. Following the announcement, Brown issued the following statement:
“Secretary Geithner delayed the release of the semiannual exchange rate report to allow room for China to make meaningful progress on moving its currency to market value. That process has recently begun, but we are years away from meaningful progress and the Administration cannot think its work is done on the issue. I’m disappointed the Administration did not label China as a currency manipulator in its delayed report, and I look forward to Secretary Geithner testifying before the Senate Banking Committee to explain this.
“Chinese currency manipulation undermines Ohio workers, Ohio manufacturers, and Ohio jobs. It’s clear that the undervaluation of the yuan allows for cheap Chinese imports to undermine American-made products. If the Administration is serious about American manufacturing and boosting exports, we’ve got to make sure that our trading partners play by the same set of rules that we do.
“The Administration has tools to address China’s currency manipulation. The Commerce Department has an opportunity to stand up for Ohio manufacturers by using China’s undervalued currency in its subsidy investigation of Chinese paper and aluminum extrusions. This would provide injured manufacturers a trade remedy defense against unfair competition.
“Congress also has tools to address currency manipulation and we’re prepared to stand up for workers and manufacturers who continue to play by the rules while their Chinese competitors do not.”
Brown is considered one of Congress’ leading voices on trade issues and has repeatedly urged the administration to act on the devaluation of Chinese currency. Following the Treasury Department’s report, Brown urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to act on petitions from U.S. industries like the paper industry. In a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Brown joined Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) in calling for the Department to make a final ruling on whether or not it would investigate whether China’s currency policy provides an unfair subsidy for Chinese paper products that should be remedied through trade measures.
The Commerce Department investigates unfair trade practices, including subsidization of products exported to the U.S. If the Commerce Department determines that imported products are unduly subsidized - and the International Trade Commission (ITC) finds that the U.S. industry has suffered from the subsidized imports - Commerce will assign additional import taxes to those products.
In March 2010, Sens. Schumer introduced and Brown cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would amend the Exchange Rates and International Economic Policy Coordination Act of 1988 to clarify the definition of manipulation with respect to currency, reduce the global account surplus requirement necessary for the United States to take action (only requires bilateral account surplus), and establish additional reporting guidelines for Treasury to include in their bi-annual reports to Congress.
Brown is the Chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy and one of Congress' leading voices on trade. Earlier this year, Brown was appointed to the President’s Export Council, the principal national advisory committee on international trade. In October 2009, Sen. Brown introduced the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2009. The legislation would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and domestic manufacturing.