On Senate Passing Legislation Pressing China to End Currency Manipulation
by Senator Lindsey Graham
I am very pleased that the U.S. Senate, in a strong bipartisan vote of 63-35, tonight passed legislation I introduced with Senators Jeff Sessions, Chuck Schumer, and Sherrod Brown giving the United States new tools to deal with Chinese currency manipulation. The Chinese yuan is generally viewed by economists as being undervalued by up to 40 percent.
Passage of the legislation comes on the heels of the Obama Administration last week expressing concerns about the bill even though he strongly supported similar legislation while campaigning for President.
I hope President Obama will be as hard on the Chinese, who are cheating Americans out of jobs, as he is on American business. It is universally accepted that the Chinese intentionally manipulate their currency to create an advantage for themselves in the marketplace. Manufacturing jobs in South Carolina and across the country are being destroyed because the Chinese continue to defy the rules of international trade.
Under current law, the Treasury Department is required to identify countries that manipulate their currency for purposes of gaining an unfair competitive trade advantage. In recent years, Treasury has found that certain countries’ currencies were ‘undervalued,’ but based on a narrow interpretation of the law Treasury has refused to cite such countries as ‘manipulators.’ The Senate-passed legislation replaces that with a new framework which will require Treasury to identify misaligned currencies and imposes trade remedies if countries fail to correct the misalignment.
Over the past week, China took a rather unusual step in sending several strongly-worded messages to the United States warning of Chinese opposition to the legislation.
This vote showed we will not be bullied by China when it is clear they are in the wrong. We ignored the threats and do not apologize for taking this action. I want a good trading relationship with China and think we can have a relationship which is beneficial to both countries. But the current Chinese policy on currency is clearly unfair and designed to benefit them at our expense.
Tonight’s vote was one of my most satisfying moments in Congress. Finally, after seven years of effort, the Senate is now on record in taking steps to address Chinese currency manipulation. This is welcome news to manufacturers in South Carolina and across the nation. Now I strongly encourage the House of Representatives to take up the legislation at the soonest possible opportunity.