Currency efforts stepped up as Obama heads to China

Nov 11, 2009 | 11:27 AM | Martyn Chase

As President Obama travels to China this week, the Fair Currency Coalition is stepping up its efforts to revive currency manipulation legislation, though industry sources acknowledge that the chances for any significant breakthrough with the Chinese range from slim to none.

A revived effort is under way in Congress to gain wide bipartisan backing for the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, according to Charles Blum, executive director of the Fair Currency Coalition, which has strong representation from steel-related groups among its membership.

As a presidential candidate, then-Sen. Obama backed a crackdown on nations manipulating their currencies to gain unfair trade advantages. As President, however, Obama's Treasury Department twice has passed on the opportunity to label the Chinese as currency manipulators in its semi-annual reports to Congress on the issue.

"We don't fault the administration at all for their dedication to raising it (with the Chinese) at every meeting from the bilateral talks to the G-20," Blum told AMM. "Treasury Secretary (Timothy) Geithner has put a lot of effort into this. ....

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