42 Members File Petition Against China’s Unfair Currency Manipulation

May 17, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander M. Levin (D-MI) led a bipartisan group of 42 lawmakers in filing a petition for action against China’s unfair currency manipulation today. The petition, filed under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, calls on the United States Trade Representative to take strong action to end China’s continued undervaluation of its currency, the renminbi (RMB), and to consider taking action against the undervalued Japanese yen.

“We have watched China manipulate its currency at the expense of American workers, farmers and businesses for too long,” said Chairman Charles B. Rangel. “The time for talk has passed, we must now act to end this unfair trade practice that cripples American industries and contributes to a staggering trade deficit between the U.S. and China.”

“The Administration has the tools in U.S. law and at the WTO to bring about change in China’s unfair and deliberate practices to hold down their currency at the expense of U.S. competitiveness,” said Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander M. Levin. “If the Administration continues to resist taking these steps, and China does not act effectively, Congress will take legislative action on behalf of U.S. businesses and workers.”

By artificially maintaining its currency at a level estimated to be 15 to 40 percent below its appropriate value, China subsidizes its exports to the United States while also imposing a direct cost on U.S. exporters to China. This undervaluation violates several of China’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). China’s continued manipulation also provides Chinese businesses with an unfair trading advantage, hurting U.S. workers, farmers and businesses and contributing to the massive and still growing trade deficit between the U.S. and China.

Members of Congress have filed similar requests with the Bush Administration in September 2004 and April 2005; however, USTR indicated they were unwilling to interfere with ongoing efforts to address the problem through dialogue with Chinese authorities. That dialogue has failed to result in any real appreciation of the RMB. In fact, the RMB has appreciated just 0.2 percent in real terms since April 2005.

Attached you will find a summary of the petition, list of signatories and accompanying letter to USTR from Chairmen Rangel and Levin.

Click here to view the full text of the petition.