Umm… So What About That Currency Report Due This Month?

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher/Writer, AAM

The Treasury Department’s semiannual Exchange Rate Policies report is now more than a week overdue. But then again President Trump is almost three years overdue in labeling China as a currency manipulator -- something he promised to announce on his first day in office.

True, it’s unlikely that this month’s report would name China a currency manipulator since October’s report didn’t either. Nonetheless, an examination of the country’s currency practices could help bolster the Trump administration’s bargaining position as it prepares to continue trade talks with China next week.

Though both countries have reportedly already settled penalties to deter currency manipulationin the pending trade deal, the Chinese renminbi’s value has been in decline in relation to the U.S. dollar as trade talks have heated up. China could easily further undervalue its currency to blunt the impact of tariffs – particularly as economic pressures continue to build.

But why does currency manipulation matter? It’s yet another method by which Beijing has gamed the international trade system, artificially lowering the cost of its exports and thereby gaining unfair competitive advantage. This method along with its other trade cheating practices, such as industrial subsidies, forced technology transfers, and intellectual property theft, have won China the lion’s share of manufacturing while undercutting manufacturing in the United States.

So, where’s that report?

Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has shown that he at least is as motivated as ever to put an end to China’s trade cheating, continuing China’s 15-year run on the intellectual property (IP) Priority Watch List in a Special 301 report released Thursday. In the report, Lighthizer warns that China along with the other countries included on the Watch List that failure to address these IP concerns may result in tariffs.

It’s well past time for China to follow through on its reform promises, as the report notes:

“High-profile statements in support of IP and innovation by Chinese government officials are no substitute for real structural changes to address shortcomings in China’s IP system, which cannot be excused by the country’s stage of economic development. The United States, other countries, and the private sector continue to urge China to embrace meaningful and deep reform to its IP-related legal and regulatory framework. The results to date have represented missed opportunities to address priority concerns of the United States and others, including where China’s proposed revisions to legal and regulatory measures fail to adopt U.S. recommendations for reform.”

Now it’s the Treasury Department’s turn to offer China another healthy dose of trade reality.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW

From the USW

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted last week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work