U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson asking him to reconsider the decision not to classify China as a currency manipulator:
Dear Secretary Paulson,
The People's Republic of China has manipulated its currency for years in order to gain an unfair advantage over the United States in trade. Unfortunately, the Administration has failed to effectively challenge or change China's behavior. And today, the Department of the Treasury has refused yet again to declare that China is manipulating its currency. I call on the Treasury Department to reconsider today's decision.
Your department's refusal to take action against China raises serious questions about the Administration's commitment to protecting the interests of American businesses and American workers. At least partially as a result of the Administration's failure to address Chinese currency manipulation, the U.S. imported more than $232 billion in goods from China than we sold to it last year. That constitutes an annual growth in the imbalance in trade of 73 percent.
Refusing to acknowledge the problem will not make it go away. As a result, I will work with colleagues in the Congress to force action and strengthen the ability of Americans losing out from Chinese currency manipulation to bring forward complaints for remedy through increased duties on Chinese goods.
The Administration's refusal to take strong action against China's currency manipulation will also make it more difficult to obtain congressional approval for renewed Trade Promotion Authority, as well as additional trade agreements. Treasury's refusal even to acknowledge the costs of Chinese currency manipulation, justifies the fear of many Americans that this Administration lacks the will to stand up against trade abuses and labor or environmental violations that create an unfair playing field for American workers.
As a result, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that any trade agreement brought before the Congress is measured not against Administration commitments but instead against the rights of Americans to protection from unfair trade practices including currency manipulation and the violation of international labor and environmental standards.
Again, I urge you to reconsider today's decision not to take action against China for currency manipulation. Thank you.
United States Senator