US considers duties on countries that undervalue currency

Published: May 24, 2019
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New rule can put goods from China, Japan, India and others at risk of higher tariffs. PHOTO: ONLINE

New rule can put goods from China, Japan, India and others at risk of higher tariffs. PHOTO: ONLINE

WASHINGTON: The US Commerce Department said late on Thursday it was proposing a new rule to impose anti-subsidy duties on products from countries that undervalue their currencies against the dollar, another move that could slap higher tariffs on Chinese products.

The new rule could also put goods from other countries at risk of higher tariffs, including Japan, South Korea, India, Germany and Switzerland.

Those countries, along with China, were all listed on the Treasury Department’s semi-annual currency report’s “monitoring list”, which tracks currency market interventions, high global current account surpluses and high bilateral trade surpluses.

The department said its proposed rule would amend the normal countervailing duty process to include new criteria for currency undervaluation. Trump administration officials have long viewed China’s yuan as undervalued against the dollar, despite the US-China trade war, which foreign currency experts say has hurt the yuan’s value.

“This change puts foreign exporters on notice that the Department of Commerce can countervail currency subsidies that harm US industries,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

“Foreign nations would no longer be able to use currency policies to the disadvantage of American workers and businesses,” he said.

It was a step towards making good on a campaign promise by US President Donald Trump to address unfair currency practices, Ross said.

The department did not identify the specific criteria that it would use to evaluate whether US pricing of a product was artificially low because of currency undervaluation.

China denounces Pompeo

Meanwhile, China on Friday denounced US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for fabricating rumours after he said the chief executive of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd was lying about his company’s ties to the Beijing government.

The United States placed Huawei on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning US firms from doing business with the world’s largest telecom network gear maker and escalating a trade battle between the world’s two biggest economies.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.

Pompeo, speaking on Thursday, also dismissed Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei’s assertions that his company would never share user secrets, and said he believed more American companies would cut ties with the tech giant.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Sophie
    May 24, 2019 - 9:40PM

    It would appear that the good old days of taking advantage of the USA are coming to an end – fair trade isn’t fair when you manipulate the value of your currency or place bogus rules which deny reasonable access to markets. Nice to see the USA isn’t just focused on China. Recommend

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