Washington D.C. [United States], Apr. 15 (ANI): The Trump administration has not labeled any country, including China, as a currency manipulator in a report examining exchange rate fluctuations.
In a semiannual report on America's major trading partners published late Friday, the Treasury Department declined to label any country a currency manipulator, though it kept China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Switzerland on a previously established "watchlist" of countries that merit close attention for their currency practices.
The semi-annual US Treasury currency report did, however, keep China on a currency "monitoring list" despite a lower global current account surplus, citing China's unusually large, bilateral trade surplus with the United States.
"An essential component of this administration's strategy is to ensure that American workers and companies face a level playing field when competing internationally", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
In the same interview, he said his administration wouldn't formally accuse the country of manipulating its currency to gain a trade advantage, retreating from a core campaign promise.
In the interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he had offered the Chinese better trade terms in exchange for their help on addressing the nuclear threat from North Korea. China now only meets one of the criteria, according to the report: a large trade surplus with the US. He publicly retreated from that position after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida last weekend.
Nowhere has Trump's shifting trade policy been clearer - or more jarring - than his reversal on China's handling of its currency.
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The United States last branded China a currency manipulator in 1994. He said China may not be manipulating their currency "at the moment because it doesn't suit their economic needs" but "make no mistake about it, as soon as the tide turns they will", he said, adding that the Trump has given them a "green light to steal our jobs".
"Treasury also places high importance on greater transparency of China's exchange rate and reserve management operations and goals", said the report.
Because it had been more than two decades since any country had been named a currency manipulator, Congress in 2015 changed the law to require Treasury to put countries on a less onerous "monitoring" list.
In fact, in recent years the Chinese government has intervened to prop up the currency, economists say.
The report also called on Japan to do more "to revive domestic demand and combat low inflation while avoiding a return to export-led growth".
Separately, the United States president has also commissioned a review of all the US's trade deals and barriers faced by its exporters with a view to finding out why the country has such an enormous trade deficit (2.7pc of GDP in 2016, which is large by trade deficit standards).
The comments highlight the president's protectionist stance, however they may contradict his tax reform policies and plans for increased spending on major infrastructure projects.