17 April, 2017
The U.S. report was the first since Donald Trump was sworn in as president last January, and drew attention because of his predictions during the election campaign that he would label China as a currency manipulator. Now, in what amounts to an epic reversal, Trump has shifted on each of those campaign positions.
On the campaign trail, Trump had called North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "obsolete". "I said it was obsolete". His stance on Russian Federation and Syrian President Bashar-al Assad has also done a 180.
New language in the Treasury report citing a history of currency intervention in China, South Korea and Taiwan is in line with what experts say could be eventual changes to the criteria aimed at deterring future manipulation.
The department, however, said that both China and Germany should do more to reduce their large trade surpluses with the US.
Market analysts said that recently Taiwan's central bank did not jump into the trading floor during late trading sessions as it had done regularly in the past to keep the Taiwan dollar cheaper.
A 2015 law requires the Treasury Department to review the currency practices of major trading partners using three criteria, including exporting more than it imports to the USA, and persistently buying or selling its currency to change its value.
"Expanding trade in a way that is freer and fairer for all Americans requires that other economies avoid unfair currency practices, and we will continue to monitor this carefully", The Hill quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying in a statement.
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"Unfortunately the President's failure to name China a currency manipulator is symptomatic of a lack of real, tough action on trade against China", Sen.
US 100 dollar banknotes and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration in Beijing, China, January 21, 2016.
China was labeled a currency manipulator between 1992 and 1994.
"The best way to get China to cooperate with North Korea, is to be tough on them with trade, which is the number one thing Chinas government cares about", he said.
"No major trading partner of the United States met the standards identified in Section 3004 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 for currency manipulation in the second half of 2016", the Treasury Department said in a report to Congress.
The report comes one week after mostly positive talks between Trump and China President Xi Jinping.
South Korea met only two out of three criteria to become a currency manipulator - trade surplus, current account surplus and market intervention.
"Moreover, China continues to pursue a wide array of policies that limit market access for imported goods and services, and maintains a restrictive investment regime which adversely affects foreign investors".