US Senate Advances Measure On China Currency

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 10:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Senate has voted to formally consider a bill that would punish China for allegedly undervaluing its currency.

A motion to move forward with the bill easily won enough votes Monday evening. Lawmakers now will likely spend days debating the measure before a final vote is taken.

The bill has bipartisan support, but it still faces considerable hurdles. It must be approved by the Senate as well as gain the support of the U.S. House, where Republican leaders have shown little interest in bringing it to the floor. Finally, it must be approved by President Barack Obama.

While the White House agrees that China's yuan is undervalued, it has decided not to formally designate China as a currency manipulator.

China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday saying the proposed bill seriously violates World Trade Organization rules. It said the United States is trying to “politicize” econmic issues, and that the measure will only harm economic relations.

The Senate bill does not specifically mention China, but lays out a procedure for imposing tariffs on any country with a devalued currency.

The measure builds on growing U.S. anger about China's currency policy. U.S. officials have long complained that China intentionally maintains an undervalued yuan as part of a strategy to benefit domestic exports and put foreign imports at a disadvantage.