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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

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House Bill Would Monitor China's Yuan

HR 3058 pegs tariffs to China's manipulation of its currency rate

WASHINGTON, DC - A phalanx of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives wants to pass a law that would impose across-the-board tariffs on Chinese imports if China were found to be manipulating the exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the American dollar.

According to'the Congressional Record, Representative Phil English (R-PA) introduced HR [House Resolution] 3058 in the House of Representatives September 10. The proposed legislation was then referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for action.

HR 3058 would require the Secretary of the Treasury to analyze and report to Congress on the exchange rate policies of the Chinese government. The proposed bill would also require the imposition of additional tariffs on products from China based on how much the Chinese government manipulated the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan to the American dollar.

The bill's 36 co-sponsors, all Republicans, include Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a member of the House International Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the Chinese government.

Representative English is the chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, and has frequently complained of the effects of unfair trade practices on US industries and their workers.

Congressman English is also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on trade, which would be the first body to take up the proposed bill, and serves on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

English, along with other co-sponsors Cass Ballenger (R-NC) and Mark Green (R-WI), held a news conference on Capitol Hill September 10 to announce HR 3508 and to push for a floating yuan.

The goal of the legislation, according to its supporters, is to allow the yuan to reach an exchange rate based on its true value, instead of being kept at an artificially low rate of exchange in relation to the dollar.

Representative Ballenger is a member of the House International Relations Committee, while Representative Green serves on the House International Relations Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.

Green is also a member of the Republican Policy Committee.
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House Republicans, who usually support the President on trade issues and are more likely to support open markets and free trade than their Democratic counterparts, are following the lead of a bipartisan group of senators.

The senators submitted a bill that would impose a 27.5% duty on all Chinese imports if China did not take steps to allow its currency to be valued by the marketplace instead of by government fiat.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced SB [Senate Bill] 1586 September 5, and the proposed bill was referred the Senate Finance Committee for action.

According to the backers of the Senate bill, the yuan's under-valuation has played "a major role in the loss of 2.6 million US manufacturing jobs since March, 2001."

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