Harder on Russia and softer on China, Trump's views evolving

With regard to the currency issue, Lew noted that the Donald Trump administration made an important decision based on facts and analysis not to designate China as a currency manipulator.

The Trump administration has placed six of its major trading partners including China and Japan on a "monitoring list" to keep a close watch on their currency practices.

Further, the report said that greater transparency of China's exchange rate and reserve management operations and goals was of extreme importance.

Still, despite that reversal, the report said a decade of holding down the renminbi had imposed "significant and long-lasting hardship on American workers and companies" and left China with the largest trade surplus of any country against the United States - $347 billion a year ago.

The members of Congress pointed to China's diplomatic and economic ties to North Korea as a key lever for minimizing the threat posed by North Korea.

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He's concluded there's more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow. He said he had changed his mind on China.

However, in an exclusive interview with Reuters on Feb 24, Trump explained that he believes China is a "grand champion" of adjusting their currency.

No major trading partner of the USA 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.

The U.S. government passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act in February 2016 that labels a trading partner as a currency manipulator when meeting three requirements: having a trade surplus with the U.S. exceeding $20 billion; current account exceeding 3 percent of the country's GDP and consistent intervention by the government of shoring up foreign currency worth minimum 2 percent of the country's GDP for a year or longer.

The Treasury report said for a decade China engaged in one-way, large-scale interventions to hold down the currency, and then only allowed it to strengthen gradually-a practice that imposed "significant and long-lasting hardship on American workers and companies".

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"We will see what happens!" he added.

"Well they, I think they're grand champions at manipulation of currency".

"Expanding trade in a way that is freer and fairer for all Americans requires that other economies avoid unfair currency practices, and we will continue to monitor this carefully", said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Economists such as Caroline Freund of the Peterson Institute of International Economics and Yukon Huang of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argue that the bilateral trade deficit does not matter. An official at the monetary authority, who asked not to be identified, said last Saturday that the central bank is in continued contact with the U.S. and has good communication channels with Washington.

Economists such as Stephen Roach, former chief economist for Morgan Stanley, believes it is the low personal savings rate in the U.S. along with Americans living beyond their means that led to the United States trade deficit.

Trump U-turn: U.S. declines to brand China as currency manipulator officially
Many economists have argued that the Chinese currency, RMB, has been at equilibrium level in recent years. Economists say the USA currency could rise further as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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