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Obama Rejects Sessions’ Call to Name China as a Currency Manipulator

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama called for President Barack Obama to label China a “currency manipulator” in a Treasury Report that is due on October 15th. On Thursday, President Obama responded to the conservative criticism and said that labeling China a currency manipulator would only “embarrass” the Chinese.

President Obama said in an interview with the ‘Cleveland Plain Dealer’ that doing that would embarrass the Chinese and would risk “an all-out trade war.” President Obama said, “‘They’d have to push back, and there’s no automatic trigger that results from it,’ Obama said. ‘So the only thing that happens is we then have to go back and negotiate with them. The key here is just constant pressure, and that’s what we’ve applied in a much more aggressive way than the previous administration.”

Sen. Sessions said, “After nearly four years in office, President Obama still refuses to label China a currency manipulator and confront this illicit trading practice. The President’s announcement that his administration is filing a WTO complaint to challenge Chinese auto subsidies will bring little comfort to the thousands who have lost and continue to lose jobs across our entire manufacturing sector thanks to China’s unfair trade practices, which have undercut U.S. competitiveness and helped decrease median household income by 7 percent in the last decade. China’s devalued currency hurts our not only our automakers, but thousands of American businesses and manufacturers, putting millions of our workers at a huge competitive disadvantage.”

Republican Presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney told crowd in suburban Cleveland that he will label China as a “currency manipulator” from day one if he is elected. Romney said America needs to keep manufacturing here, but it has been lost “again and again and again.” Romney said, “Competition from overseas that’s just often unfair has driven (American Spring Wire’s) customers out of business, and when their customers go out of business, they lose business here, and people lose jobs.” Romney said that the nation had lost 582,000 jobs in the last four years.

Critics of President Obama say that his actions as President do not live up to his promises when he was running for President. In 2008 candidate Obama said, “Now look, here’s the thing I think people don’t understand. China needs our market. Their economy is dependent on exports to the United States and we have bargaining power. The problem that we’ve got with China is not that we couldn’t work out a deal in which they are benefitting and we are benefitting. The problem is that through all the tough talk of George W. Bush, he is a patsy when it comes to negotiating these agreements. And, what we need to do is to just be better bargainers that say, ‘Look, here’s the bottom line, you guys keep on manipulating your currency, we are going to start shutting off access to some of our markets. If you are doing the right thing and not trying to manipulate your currency to disadvantage us, then you will have access.’ It’s a pretty, pretty straight forward proposition.”

Sen. Sessions said, “The President’s refusal to act forced the Senate to take up and pass legislation, which I cosponsored, to try to compel the Administration to take action. That bill passed on a bipartisan basis as the President remained on the sidelines. Even Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the President’s inaction, saying a few days before the passage of the Senate bill: ‘I believe this administration should label China a currency manipulator because I think it is clear there continues to be manipulation.’”

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