WASHINGTON — Four Republican House members reintroduced a bill targeting China's fixed exchange rate policy on Tuesday, as the chorus against the country's trade practices grew louder on Capitol Hill.
Reps. Phil English (R., Pa.), Robin Hayes (R., N.C.), Mark Green (R, Wis.) and Chris Chocola (R., Ind.) introduced an "updated" version of a bill submitted during the last session of Congress and now titled the "Currency Harmonization Initiative through Neutralizing Action Act of 2005."
The legislation aims to impose tariffs if the Treasury Department finds China's exchange-rate policy fits into the World Trade Organization's definition of currency manipulation.
The "CHINA Act" would direct the Treasury Secretary to, within 60 days of enactment, analyze and report to Congress whether China "manipulates" its currency by pegging it to the dollar.
China has maintained an exchange rate of 8.28 yuan to $1 since 1995. U.S. manufacturers and lawmakers complain that China artificially undervalues the yuan, lowering prices of exports by as much as 40 percent and putting U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage.
"Our legislation sets a standard by which China would be forced to meet WTO standards or will face clear and definable tariff penalties," English said at a press conference in the Capitol. "We believe this legislation, by introducing it with 22 co-sponsors, is going to send a very clear message to the Chinese that Congress no longer will sit back and see our manufacturers take hits from a grossly unfair process."
Treasury Secretary John Snow recently warned China that failing to reform its monetary policy could lead it to be labeled a "manipulator" of currency, which could lead to WTO involvement and potential sanctions.
The CHINA Act is the fifth such bill introduced this session relating to China and its currency and it is difficult to gauge how much traction it will have among competing bills, although a groundswell of Congressional support has risen to take more aggressive action against China. Lawmakers also appear to have more leverage in this session in light of the pressure on the administration to find enough votes to get the Central American Free Trade Agreement approved.
Rep. Bill Thomas (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, recently said Congress should consider taking legislative action against China's currency policy as a way to prod China into adopting a more flexible exchange rate and to sway key lawmakers into the CAFTA camp. English said he agrees with Thomas that it would be helpful to have "a substantive vote on China trade" in the context of the CAFTA debate.Hayes, who represents textile producers in a state that has lost thousands of sector jobs, said he has received assurances from U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman that he is "interested in moving this type of fair-trade legislation" forward. He said, "There are a lot of things that influence me and relate to how they affect [my constituents] and whether they create new jobs," adding that he is "leaning no" on CAFTA.
Meanwhile, a coalition of business groups, including representatives from the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition and National Textile Association, joined members of Congress Tuesday on the Hill to voice their opposition to CAFTA and publicize a letter they have sent to the President detailing the detriment to the manufacturing base they believe the pact poses.
In an interview after the news conference, Rep. Walter Jones (R., N.C.), said he doesn't believe the Bush administration will swing many votes among House textile-state lawmakers with three pledges it made to win the endorsement of the National Council of Textile Organizations. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R., N.C.) cited those pledges and others as a factor in her decision to vote for CAFTA if it comes to a vote.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty