China currency bill could delay passage of free trade deals

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China currency bill could delay passage of free trade deals

The Hill – The contentious and potentially explosive issue of China’s currency could slide into the spotlight again next month as lawmakers begin what is expected to be a difficult trade debate in Congress.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) “is strongly considering” offering his China currency bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), as an amendment to a standalone worker-retraining measure that is expected to begin movement through the House and Senate next month, a Senate aide told The Hill.

Brown would offer his currency legislation — which would direct the Commerce Department to treat currency undervaluation as a prohibited export subsidy — to a streamlined version of a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill worked out in late June by the White House, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

“Extending Trade Adjustment Assistance is an important step to respond to job loss caused by foreign competition. But addressing unfair trade practices like Chinese currency manipulation can prevent job loss by ensuring a level playing field for American manufacturers facing a flood of cheap Chinese imports,” Brown said in a recent statement. “With up to 2 million jobs that may be hanging in the balance, Congress must take action immediately.”

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