WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday entered the fray over legislation targeting China’s undervalued currency, stating that the Chinese manipulate the yuan and intervene in currency markets to the detriment of U.S. businesses even as he expressed concern about the bill’s compliance with international trade rules and the potential to spark a trade war.
With a Senate vote looming on a controversial currency bill that would set punitive tariffs on China if it failed to reform monetary policy, Obama said, “My main concern — and I’ve expressed this with Sen. Schumer [a chief co-sponsor of the China currency legislation] — is that whatever tools we put in place let’s make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they are consistent with our treaties and international obligations. I don’t want a situation where we’re just passing laws that are symbolic, knowing that they are probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization, for example, so that U.S. companies are subject to a whole bunch of U.S. sanctions.
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