Washington Update

January 5th, 2016
Stephanie Henry

January 5, 2015

Congress’ approval of the 2016 Omnibus spending bill on December 18 contained one significant, positive measure for the US-China relationship: an increase in China’s stake in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Congress had delayed voting on an IMF reform package for several years, leading some critics in China to view the inaction as part of a containment strategy to limit China’s influence in international institutions.
 
IMF reform had been a long-...

December 8th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

December 8, 2015

The United States today announced that it is challenging China’s support for its domestic aircraft manufacturers at the World Trade Organization (WTO). US Trade Representative Michael Froman said today the United States would seek consultations with China under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism on China’s imposition of value-added taxes (VAT) on certain foreign aircraft. Consultations are the first step toward launching a formal dispute against another WTO member...

April 10th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

The US Treasury Department in its latest exchange rate report did not cite China as a currency manipulator, but said that the renminbi (RMB) remains “significantly undervalued.” In its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, Treasury said that China’s “real effective exchange rate appreciated by more than 10 percent in the past six months, the fastest pace since 2009.” However, Treasury noted that this appreciation does not go far enough, and that...

February 19th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

After the introduction of currency legislation in the House and Senate last week, it appears unlikely that the House will take up a standalone bill, though the issue may be included in Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) sought by President Obama to finalize Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been vocal in opposing the bill, calling it a “counterproductive tactic [that] would trigger higher tariffs on any...

February 10th, 2015
Stephanie Henry

Critics of China’s currency policies introduced legislation today in the House and Senate that would allow the imposition of tariffs on imports from countries considered to be currency manipulators. The House bill mirrors currency legislation that passed the House in 2010. The latest Senate bill takes a narrower approach, but still raises similar issues that the Senate’s 2011 currency bill created in regards to the United States’ World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance. The US-China...

January 22nd, 2015
Stephanie Henry

Trade Views of New Additions to Key Committees in the 114th Congress

Key House and Senate committees involved in implementing the US trade agenda are taking shape in the 114th Congress, and will play an important role in the work ahead. New members of Congress in the House gained posts on key committees having jurisdiction over trade and foreign affairs issues, while several new and returning Senators will take new posts on the Senate Foreign Relations and Finance Committees. USCBC...

October 16th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

October 16, 2014 - The US Treasury Department on Wednesday said China’s currency remains “significantly undervalued,” but did not label it a currency manipulator in its Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies. Instead, Treasury observed “some renewed willingness” by Chinese regulators to allow RMB appreciation and reduce intervention, following China’s commitment to do so at the July 2014 Strategic & Economic Dialogue. Treasury has not labelled...

October 1st, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Erin Ennis, vice president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC), testified today before the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee on a wide range of issues, including competition enforcement, regulatory transparency, intellectual property rights (IPR), and China’s broader compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

In her testimony, Ennis said China remains a valuable market for US companies, but one that could be more valuable if market barriers and...

September 19th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Key Trade Nominees Approved by Senate

The Senate approved Robert Holleyman as Deputy US Trade Representative and Nathan Sheets as Under Secretary for International Affairs at the US Treasury Department yesterday. The approvals fill the remaining deputy-level positions overseeing US commercial relations with China in the Obama administration’s second term.

Holleyman replaces Demetrios Marantis, who left the post in May 2013. Holleyman is expected to cover a portfolio...

August 18th, 2014
Stephanie Henry

Nominees for key Treasury and trade posts advanced on July 31, bringing the nominees one step closer to confirmation. The Senate Finance Committee reported to the full Senate Nathan Sheets’ nomination as under secretary for international affairs at the US Treasury Department – a post formerly held by Lael Brainard – and Robert Holleyman’s nomination as Deputy US Trade Representative, who would replace Demetrios Marantis. The Senate will need to confirm both nominations, but with Congress in...

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