US law­mak­ers con­demn China on cur­rency drop


U. S. law­mak­ers have been quick to con­demn the sud­den drop in the value of main­land Chi­nese cur­rency as dam­ag­ing for Amer­i­can busi­nesses and work­ers, re­viv­ing an is­sue that was once one of the big­gest sources of ten­sion be­tween the two world pow­ers.

Yet the ini­tial re­sponse from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials has been mild, even pos­i­tive. They say Bei­jing has in­di­cated it is tak­ing steps to­ward a mar­ket­de­ter­mined ex­change rate - some­thing that even main­land China’s big­gest crit­ics in Washington have been de­mand­ing for years.

While main­land China’s cur­rency pol­icy has been a peren­nial sore spot in the re­la­tion­ship, it has dropped in the peck­ing or­der of pri­or­ity con­cerns dur­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ten­ure, as the yuan has ap­pre­ci­ated sig­nif­i­cantly against the U.S. dol­lar since 2010.

Main­land China’s ter­ri­to­rial am­bi­tions in the seas of East Asia and al­leged cy­ber spy­ing on a mas­sive scale against U.S. gov­ern­ment and busi­nesses are likely to dom­i­nate the agenda when Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping make his first state visit to the United States in Septem­ber.

But a con­tin­ued drop in the value of yuan against the dol­lar could be­come an is­sue of grow­ing con­tention and give am­mu­ni­tion to crit­ics of main­land China and fuel long-run­ning re­sent­ment over the trade im­bal­ance be­tween the U.S. and Asia’s largest econ­omy, which to­taled US$343.1 bil­lion last year.

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