Markets

Trump admin. declines to brand China a currency manipulator

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration declined to name any major trading partner as a currency manipulator in a highly anticipated report on Friday, backing away from a key Trump campaign promise to slap such a label on China.

During the 2016 election, Trump frequently complained that Chinese leaders were outmaneuvering the United States to increase exports and pledged to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, a move he subsequently did not take.

This is a huge turnaround from Trump's rhetoric during his campaign a year ago where he raised the possibility of labeling Korea and other major trading partners including China, Japan and Germany as currency manipulators, which could have led to regulatory actions that would hamper imported goods from these countries.

No major trading partner of the United States was named a currency manipulator in a latest Treasury report on the foreign exchange policies of these countries, though a list including six countries whose polices were deemed to require close monitoring was left unchanged. Japan and South Korea are concerned Trump will overlook China's aggression toward its neighbors.

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No country met the three criteria to be labelled a currency manipulator in the second half of 2016.

Now, China needed to show that its lack of intervention in the currency markets "to resist appreciation" over the past three years was a "durable" policy by allowing the yuan to strengthen "once appreciation pressures resume", the Treasury said.

On the US-China trade deficit, Lew said the actual bilateral trade deficit number is not always the issue.

Upon announcing his candidacy in 2015, Trump said that China's currency practices were making it impossible for American companies to compete and declared, "They're killing us".

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

The three are: a significant bilateral trade surplus with the US; a material current account surplus; and the involvement in persistent one-sided intervention in the foreign exchange market.

In its report to Congress, the Treasury Department noted that Beijing had intervened in currency markets for about a decade to depress the value of its currency, the renminbi.

Germany, as part of the Eurozone, can not act unilaterally to change the value of the euro.

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During the inauguration speech last January, President Trump hinted that the USA may withdraw from global stages as he said: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". "Treasury places significant importance on China adhering to its G-20 commitments to refrain from engaging in competitive devaluation and not to target China's exchange rate for competitive purposes". He said he had changed his mind on China.



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