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Administration Officials Conferring With Lawmakers, Others on Currency in Trade Talks

Administration officials conferring with lawmakers, others on currency in trade talks. The Obama administration is in consultations with members of Congress and others on how best to handle currency manipulation issues with regard to trade negotiations, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said. Responding to a question posed by a participant at the annual US-Japan Business Conference, Froman acknowledged the importance of the issue among lawmakers and the attention it has received from industry stakeholders. He noted that with the advent of the structural reforms being implemented by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the monetary policies of the Bank of Japan, the Japanese yen has come under increasing focus. Critics of Japanese monetary policies, such as House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), argue the accumulation of large foreign reserves by Japan's central bank has been effected to devalue the yen and make Japan's exports more price competitive. “There is a very active debate going on, on Capitol Hill, and among the administration and industry about that,” Froman said. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) Nov. 13 said with regard to the ongoing TPP talks that currency manipulation is a serious problem that can erode the benefits of US trade agreements. “It's time to have a serious discussion about the pros and cons of including currency provisions in trade agreements—and what those provisions might look like,” Camp said. “If the Administration continues to delay its engagement on this politically and economically important issue, it will undermine support for TPP and could delay our ability to conclude TPP.”

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