A key US House committee with power over taxes and trade will hold a September 15 hearing to weigh possible new steps to press China over its currency policy, the panel’s chairman said Thursday.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin’s announcement came amid deep anger in the US Congress at Beijing, which lawmakers charge is hurting US exports by keeping the yuan artificially cheap.
“There is no real question that China’s deliberately undervalued exchange rate is unfair, contributes to global trade imbalances, and costs the United States jobs and economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector,” he said.
China had long held a tight rein on the yuan, and effectively pegged its currency at about 6.8 to the dollar since mid-2008 to support exporters during the global economic crisis.
The People’s Bank of China pledged on June 19 to let the currency trade more freely against the greenback, though it ruled out any large fluctuations. The yuan has appreciated 0.7 percent since the announcement.
“We must ensure that China’s rhetoric translates into results that are meaningful and that the international trading system ensures fair rules of competition,” said the lawmaker, a top Democratic White House ally.
Levin said the panel would consider options such as US legislation or seeking formal dispute settlement consultations with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO).