WASHINGTON — A coalition of business, labor and agriculture trade associations, regrouping after the Bush administration said last month it would reject a planned petition on China’s currency policies, said it will shelve the filing for now, but will keep pressure on the administration for results on China.
Fair Currency Alliance members, consisting of several trade groups, including the National Council of Textile Organizations, held a press conference here Monday to say they were surprised and disappointed by the administration’s decision to stymie the petition, but that they are still willing to work with U.S. officials.
The FCA said it was prepared to charge that China’s “undervalued fixed exchange rate mechanism” has artificially depressed the value of its currency and caused serious adverse economic effects to U.S. businesses and farmers. The FCA had planned to file a petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, before the administration dismissed it at the same time it rejected a 301 petition filed by the AFL-CIO that alleged China represses workers’ rights.
As a result of China’s exchange rate regime, the FCA claimed, the U.S. trade deficit with the Asian nation has accelerated since 2001 and topped $124 billion in 2003, which in turn hurt U.S. businesses and led to job losses.
David Hartquist, an attorney representing the FCA, said the coalition plans to meet regularly with senior officials, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
“If this thing falls flat in a relatively short period of time and we don’t see progress, we retain the right to file our petition at any point,” Hartquist said.