Senators renew push against China currency 'manipulation' despite yuan's rise

Wed Jun 5, 2013 6:20pm EDT
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By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced legislation to give the United States new tools to fight currency manipulation, an effort aimed mainly at China, just days before President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet for an informal retreat.

The bill is similar to legislation the House of Representatives and the Senate passed separately in 2010 and 2011, but which failed to win final congressional approval.

The new effort comes despite a recent rise in the Chinese currency to the highest level since 2005.

Obama and Xi are to meet at a luxury resort near Palm Springs this weekend for an informal meeting aimed at easing mistrust between the world's two biggest economies.

"The single biggest step we could take today to create jobs in American manufacturing is to tackle China's currency manipulation," Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in statement.

"That's why we're making a renewed, bipartisan push to get this bill passed and on the President's desk, and send a strong message to the Chinese government that the rigged game must come to an end," Schumer said.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers in March restarted an effort to pass the bill, which House Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, has blocked on the grounds that it could start a trade war with China.

U.S. lawmakers accuse China of deliberately undervaluing its currency to give Chinese companies an unfair price advantage in international trade. A rise in the value in the yuan against the dollar in recent years has taken some of the steam out of that argument.   Continued...