July 30, 2015 / 2:56 AM / 3 years ago

U.S. lawmaker pushing for more on currencies in Pacific trade pact

LAHAINA, Hawaii, July 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic lawmaker Sander Levin said on Wednesday he was pushing for Pacific trading partners to do more on currency issues after the United States proposed a separate forum on ways to stop countries deliberately weakening exchange rates.

Countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks are considering a U.S. proposal for finance ministers to discuss currency questions, Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Tuesday.

The move falls short of demands from U.S. lawmakers for tough rules against currency cheating, including from Levin, whose state of Michigan is home to U.S. automakers such as Ford Motor Co worried about competition from Japan under the TPP.

“There are discussions going on to see if a provision can go beyond having meetings of ministers,” said Levin, who is attending ministerial talks aimed at wrapping up the deal.

“It’s about really trying to make a currency provision something effective and more than consultations.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Asia senior vice president Tami Overby said it was too early to say if the proposal was acceptable.

“I’m glad to see that people are trying to be creative and we need to find a way to deal with this outside of a trade agreement,” she said.

Weaker exchange rates make a country’s exports cheaper and give exporters a competitive advantage. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Michael Perry)

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