February 14, 2017

THE SOFTER SIDE OF TRUMP: Currency strategy would avoid singling out country in bid to avoid break in relations.

Under the plan, the commerce secretary would designate the practice of currency manipulation as an unfair subsidy when employed by any country, instead of singling out China, said people briefed on or involved in formulating the policy. U.S. companies would then be in a position to bring antisubsidy actions themselves to the U.S. Commerce Department against China or other countries.

The currency plans are part of a China strategy being assembled by the White House’s new National Trade Council, which seeks to balance the goals of challenging China while still keeping relations with the country on an even keel. To do that, measures taken against China would also apply to other nations.

The administration would avoid, at least for now, making confrontational claims about whether China is manipulating its currency for trade benefit, the people said.

On the other hand, China has been “playing a dangerous game” propping up the value of the yuan against the dollar, spending almost one trillion of its foreign reserve dollars since mid-2014 to do so.

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