Goldman Previews Today's "Anti-Chinese Currency Manipulation" Bill

Tyler Durden's picture

Today, at around 5:30 pm, the Senate will pass currency legislation squarely targeting alleged Chinese "currency manipulation" (which as a reminder is pegged to the USD, which begs the question just who is manipulating their currency). And while the PBOC pegged the USDCNY at a new all time low last night in what appears to be an attempt to placate US lawmakers, it may have been premature. As Goldman explains the likelihood of anything real happening as a result of this legislation, which will not pass Congress in its current form, is virtually negligible. That said, here is what the Senate in theory is attempting to achieve: "The bill would impose new penalties on countries whose currencies are found to be "misaligned," including tariffs on goods imported from those countries and an eventual WTO complaint. Like previous legislative efforts on this front, the likelihood of enactment seems low. House passage of the Senate bill seems unlikely, though it is clearly possible that the House could pass its own version of the currency bill instead." Bottom line: much ado about nothing, although China will probably not be too happy either way.

From Goldman Sachs

Congress is once again considering legislation to penalize the imports of countries that it considers to have intentionally undervalued currencies; China is its clear focus. Last week the currency bill offered by Senator Brown (D-OH) and a number of his colleagues overcame a key procedural hurdle in the Senate and final passage appears likely on October 11. The Brown bill is similar to proposals Congress has considered over the last few years and would make three important modifications to the way US trade law treats currency valuation:

  • Currency “manipulator” label: The bill establishes objective criteria that the Treasury must use to identify “misaligned” currencies, rather than the more subjective “manipulation” designation that the Treasury currently uses in its semi-annual report to Congress on foreign exchange. All instances of currency misalignment would require some type of action if not corrected; cases of intentional misalignment caused by foreign countries' policy actions—labeled under the legislation as “priority misalignment”—would require the administration to take more aggressive steps, as detailed below.
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties: Countervailing duties are currently applied under US law against specific goods from certain countries that are found to be subsidizing their exports. The Senate bill would require the Department of Commerce (DOC) to investigate currency undervaluation as a countervailable subsidy (under current law, the DOC has this option but is not required to do so). In addition, if “priority misalignment” hasn’t been corrected within 90 days, the full extent of currency undervaluation as calculated by the DOC or International Trade Commission (ITC) would also be explicitly reflected in anti-dumping duties. This means that domestic companies facing competition from imports would still need to file product-specific complaints with the DOC and ITC, but could add currency undervaluation to their complaint, and thus increase the remedial tariffs put in place if they are successful. This is similar to the currency bills proposed over the last few years, but unlike the original legislation offered by Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Graham (R-SC) in 2005, which would have imposed an across the board tariff on all imports from countries with undervalued currencies.
  • WTO complaint: If misalignment continues for more than 360 days, the US Trade Representative would be required to request dispute settlement proceedings in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Treasury would also be required “to consult with” the Federal Reserve Board on remedial intervention in currency markets, though the Federal Reserve would not be required to take any action.

Why is this trade legislation coming up now, just as global economic growth appears likely to slow? The electoral cycle seems to play only a minor role; after all, Congress seems to have come closest to passing currency-focused legislation in non-election years. Economic weakness is probably a somewhat more important factor; there is a clear relationship between the unemployment rate and tariff activity (see for instance “Trade Rhetoric Likely to Heat Up,” US Daily, June 14, 2010). But the primary factor behind the renewed focus on China's foreign exchange policy appears to be the fact that Congress will soon take up legislation to liberalize trade.

It is not unusual for Congress to consider "protectionist" legislation at the same time it considers "free trade" legislation. For instance, in 2002 the Bush Administration announced steel tariffs shortly before Congress was due to vote on “Trade Promotion Authority” legislation that allowed “fast track” trade negotiations. A few years later in 2005, Republican leaders backed incremental currency legislation in order to win support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). On October 12 (i.e., this Wednesday), the House and Senate are expected to pass bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. The Senate's likely passage of currency-focused legislation one day earlier on October 11 appears to be another example of the same phenomenon. (Senate leaders may have also decided to bring up the currency bill for a vote to preempt any effort to add it to the package of trade agreements.)

That said, even if momentum behind the Senate's currency bill fades somewhat once the bilateral trade agreements have been enacted, the outlook for this issue will remain uncertain, mainly because the division between supporters and opponents of such legislation is more blurred than ever. The Obama Administration is not clearly opposed to legislation to penalize countries with "misaligned" currencies, like the Bush Administration was. On one hand, President Obama co-sponsored similar legislation in 2007 when he served in the US Senate, and most of his Democratic allies in Congress support it. On the other hand, the President raised doubts about the bill last week by suggesting that he does not want to pass “laws that are symbolic knowing that they’re probably not going to be upheld by the WTO.” The upshot is that while a veto is possible if the Senate's currency bill reaches the President's desk, it is by no means assured.

Republican opposition is also not as clear cut as it once had been. Although House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has warned that the Senate's currency bill is “dangerous,” and could start a “trade war,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, arguably the leading Republican presidential contender, has indicated that he supports citing China for currency manipulation in Treasury’s semi-annual report, as well as filing a complaint in the WTO and the application of tariffs in retaliation for China’s foreign exchange policy.

The upshot is that the currency bill that the Senate is likely to pass on October 11 is unlikely to become law, but what will happen instead isn't entirely clear. The most likely scenario is that at some point over the next few months, the House will take up a different bill to address the currency issue, but one that does so in a more incremental manner than the Senate’s approach. This would allow House members who want to vote on currency issues an opportunity to do so, but would most likely not result in a bill reaching the President's desk, since differences between the House and Senate approaches could take months if not longer to resolve, and might push the issue past the election.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Cassandra Syndrome's picture

Pass this Anti-Chinese Currency Manipulation Bill, bitchez...

HelluvaEngineer's picture

Is the market even open today, Bitchez?

SheepDog-One's picture

Does it actually make any difference whether the Zero Volume Casino is technically open or not? 

Esso's picture

Good point. I suppose there's no reson why the computer algos shouldn't be allowed to continue their looting 24/7/365.

Maybe that'd help get to the end of this bullshit quicker. When the 0.1%ers own everything, maybe common sense will return due to the hunger and we can kill them.

combatsnoopy's picture

Yay! More economic policies to benefit none other than the CARRY TRADERS!  Borrow tax dollars from the Federal Reserve FOR FREE, then speculate in a rising Chinese currency. 

The US should speak- a stronger dollar = lower oil prices = lower trade deficit.  


Now what's Bernanke doing with our currency? 


rocker's picture

·         Boycott the Stock Market. Don't Buy Stocks.

This is the best way to help Occupy Wall Street and yourself and your investment dollars.

Do you want to make money in the stock market.

Boycott the Stock Market. Don't Buy Stocks.

The Stock Market is headed for a Crash anyway due to the financial crisis. Which is not over. Nobody went to Jail for the crisis. This is a first. The infection started in America, went around the world and goes full circle back to America. Yes there is corruption and that’s why our disease will spread and return to us.

You see, “We are Worse than Japan now”. The financial crisis was just a tipping point.

Who are the bankers paying off to stay out of Jail.

Did anybody know that J.P. Morgan donated 4.6 million to N.Y.P.D. Why?  Was any of that Bailout Money? NYPD spends more time protecting a Bull Statue than they do people. Hmmmm.

This is proof that money can buy anything. Take a look at our supreme court ruling that the average American’s vote is void to the corporations unlimited amount of money a corporation can spend to persuade you to vote against your own best interest. Do you watch any news on TV.  If you say yes, you are brainwashed and told how to think. It is so easy to have someone tell you how to think. Most idiots do not know what QE anything is or who Ben Bernanke is. If that alone does not ring the alarm clock you will never wake up.

Support Occupy Wall Street. Boycott the Stock Market. Don't Buy Stocks.

If we avoid the markets it will capitulate. Not a ½  day flash crash. Or a one day drop.

Capitulation is when the market goes down and stays down. Nobody want stock xyz.

And then, my friends, you can go shopping and buy stocks.  This is when CNBC, FOX, and Bloomberg will tell you they do not see a future in the market.  I say, this is when you buy.

Until then, save yourself from Financial Pain:  Don’t Buy Stocks, Boycott the Stock Market.

The best part, you will stick the HFTs too.  They have a lot of supply, (stocks), they want to stick you with.

gojam's picture

How long you waited to copy and paste that ?

Couldn't you have waited until a relevant story came up ?

rocker's picture

I can type 55 words a minute. These were typed by myself. My ergo MS Keypad has the letters worn off.

My wife doesn't understand to this day how I can find any letters. 

It is relevant with anything Goldman.  Don't buy Stocks. Boycott Wall Street.

gojam's picture

Well that post is over 300 words in 2 minutes (a personal best ?)

LongBallsShortBrains's picture

----------Support Occupy Wall Street. Boycott the Stock Market. Don't Buy Stocks.

If we avoid the markets it will capitulate. Not a ½  day flash crash. Or a one day drop.

Capitulation is when the market goes down and stays down. Nobody want stock xyz.

And then, my friends, you can go shopping and buy stocks.  This is when CNBC, FOX, and Bloomberg will tell you they do not see a future in the market.  I say, this is when you buy.-----------

Your first statement sounds like a cheer leading political based message.

Your second makes it obvious that you couldn't give a fuck about OWS and their message, except in it's ability to manipulate the market so you can take advantage.

Don't get me wrong, I love to win at the crooked casino too. But please tell me how your plan to take it down with OWS and then ride the wave up when this perceived value returns does anything more after the capitulation and subsequent run up, than bring you back here to persuade people to take it down until it capitulates so that you can go long again.
The morgue could use you at their silver desk.

gojam's picture

"The bill would impose new penalties on countries whose currencies are found to be "misaligned," including tariffs on goods imported from those countries"

So what can the Eurozone expect then?

knukles's picture

It's all really a who gives a shit from anything other than Perceptions Management standpoint, for TPTB will proceed ahead as they damned well please in any case. 
Since when has the Gunuhmint begun obeying it own laws?

Either way, the Chinese (our biggest owner and landlord) will still get mutherfucking pissed.

Nascent_Variable's picture

Who the hell are American politicians to accuse anyone else of manipulating currency?  Are they not aware of the existence of the Federal Reserve?  Were they in a cave while the QE money helicopter was making its rounds?

Vipers and thieves, every last rotten one of them.

knukles's picture

Ya know, in all honesty, I'm not really sure (at all and in fact thinking about it would bet on it) that our typical "honorable trusted public servant" (which is how our local congresscritter introduces himself LOL) has any grasp of that shit what so ever... other than if it (Fed) don't stay unaudited as a magical money tree and laundering tool, he looses. 

SheepDog-One's picture

It just tells me how close the blowup of all this is now.

Pondmaster's picture

So. put heavy tariffs on Chinese imports . Noones buying anything anyway . The gov't gets the tariff monies and leaves the 99% alone . China and US are both crooks . None of this matters in the long run . More extend , tax , and pretend .

SheepDog-One's picture

'Hey Kettle! You're BLACK!!

I mean, seriously? The most blatant money manipulators in world history now want to pass BILLS against another country's 'currency manipulation'? These people have gone fully insane! And WTF weight does a US Clowngress BILL have on China anyway? We pass bills on what other countries can do now? We've passed Full Retard stop long ago.

ZackAttack's picture

I agree with this, except to say that the last sentence is an insult to Full Retards everywhere.

Bob's picture

This is how the representatives of US-based transnational offshoring corporations in CONgress pretend to give a shit about workers here, I think. 

knukles's picture

Them same trusted honorable public servants many years ago (if I remember correctly) passed a bill to break up OPEC, citing it as a monoploy and that solved the problem.  
Central planning, that's what's for breakfast.

RSloane's picture

Yup. I'm sure the thought of the power of the Harry Reid is frightening poor China to bits.


PS I'm just going to go down the page and give you a +1 on all your posts this morning.

Esso's picture

I think the term "retard" is being greatly overused now. C'mon, at least 0.5% of the population isn't severely & profoundly retarded, yet.

agent default's picture

Que Treasury sell off in 3,2,1...

The Deleuzian's picture

So who's up for reelection!  I can't believe those twits even debate this...Let alone bring it up time and time again...Get over it!!  It's like when two people each have a gun pointed at eachother's head and their own...Either pull the trigger or go home!!!

Caviar Emptor's picture

Smoot-Hawley all over again. Is all this a prelude to politicians fanning the flames of nationalism and imposing protective tariffs in a repeat of Great Depression politics? 

SheepDog-One's picture

Thats great! Put tariffs on imports now that WE hardly manufacture anything and depend on imports.

Esso's picture

Why the hell can't everybody see things as clearly as you do, SD1?

spartan117's picture

But it'll create American jobs!  Bring manufacturing back to America and we can create good paying jobs at $80 per hour! 

Smiddywesson's picture

Yes, it is an important next step in the evolution of the crisis: 

Politicians used to run campaigns in which they said they can fix it.

But after years of lies about new shovel ready jobs and summers of recovery, nobody believes it can be fixed anymore.

So now the next stage in the crisis is politicians will increasingly run campaigns based on retribution, because the people want to see scapegoats held up for punishment, not empty promises.

buzzsaw99's picture

Many countries peg to the usd, including the ksa and other oil exporters. This is just an attempt by the usa gubbermint to scapegoat china for usa unemployment.

TGR's picture

Except, officially and technically the Chinese RMB is not pegged to the USD - it is traded in a managed float against a basket of currencies, the weighting of which is not transparent and changes on a daily basis according to the whim of the people's bank. But USD, the EURO and Yen obviously are given the primary weighting. Pound sterling, CAD, AUD, Thai baht and a couple of others are given less weighting in the basket.

But anyway, semantics - it closely follows the fortunes (or misfortunes) of USD value, so the weighting issue would seem to be a rather thin veneer.

buzzsaw99's picture

Are you saying that the bernank doesn't manipulate currencies on a whim? The trend in the yuan has been down compared to usd, just not fast enough to suit the senate. appreciating the chinese currency will accomplish nothing. Their work force will slave 12 hrs a day for a bowl of rice.


I suppose what the usa senate wants is for china's currency to be so strong that their populace can buy chinese made stuf from amazon et al and have it shipped back across the pacific. lolololololol

TGR's picture

Are you saying that the bernank doesn't manipulate currencies on a whim?

Nope not saying that, more likely they are probably closer to two peas in a pod than even they know.

Then again, both parties probably do know; but amazing what a few well chosen words to rally the masses will do, given it's election time (well, in China at least the equivalent of an election) coming up in both countries.

The Deleuzian's picture

A free-floating Yuan...The horror! The Horror!

Die Weiße Rose's picture

Beggar thy Neighbour, junk thy USD is the only tool Zero-Rate Ben has got left...  Compared to Europe, the United States actually has the tools and the political will to push down its currency,

even as Congress prepares to fight back against what it calls Chinese manipulation of its currency, the yuan.

Pushing down the value of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies is one of the few ways
President Obama can achieve his 2010 State of the Union goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

"In the U.S. we are clearly on a path to weaken the dollar to promote exports,"
Any devaluation of the U.S. dollar would have an inverse effect on the €uro.

Since late August, investors have traded out of the euro, causing its value to drop against the US dollar. This week however the euro changed course and jolted upwards as investors grow more hopeful that the European Union can resolve its problems.

moskov's picture

The funny fact is USD is in the worst shape ever compares to the value of Gold. Fedural Printing Press is trashing the dollar like dumping trash day by day and they assume all these trash would be still worthed a little for trade. Just wait until China decided to fully depeg the dollar and sell them in a rocket speed. Imagine all those green toilet paper flowing back to the US like a tsunami....the American people would be truly  rich again. lol

no2foreclosures's picture

This farce should really be called the "anti-anti-currency manipulation" bill.

rufusbird's picture

The Riyal is pegged to the dollar and no one is complaining...

"In June 1986, the riyal was officially pegged to the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). In practice, it is fixed at 1 U.S. dollar = 3.75 riyals, which translates to approximately 1 riyal = 0.266667 dollar.[2][3] This rate was made official on January 1, 2003."


combatsnoopy's picture

I have a wet dream that all of the public relations firms on K&J Streets were subject to a hostile take over by Pixar.   At least the people who run Pixar know who the MAd Hatter is, moreso than these verrrry important sock puppets get about macroeconomics.

1. First of all, for you creepo fetishers- China IS doing rather well.   Some of us are related to Chinese nationals?  In a country with 1.3 billion people, their thriving economy is kind of hard to understate or hide.  

-They exaggerate their bad news to keep their currency artificially low.  Wait.  Who else did that?  Japan!  Japan and China both claimed a trade deficit with eachother, IN THE SAME YEAR.  For those who are confused, that's impossible.  

I love my Toyotas, don't get me wrong.  But they're much better at engineering than they are at economics.  I'm going to reiterate.

- Like Japan, China buys raw materials from Australia instead of the U.S.  The fetishing creepo Neocons were touting that they would buy from us, Bush then tried to "rescue" our economy by selling them steel and they rejected.   

-Clinton takes his bribes without considering the consequences it made to the American people.  Asian countries think like corporations in one sector.   If one country ie. Japan does something, the others are going to copy just to stay competative.  IF Japan buys raw materials from Australia and imposes trade barriers to imports, China will probably do the same.   It almost resembes Microsoft trying to copy Mac, or Google trying to compete with Facebook.    

-How much does China lobby the WTO to favor them over us?   Instead of embezzling taxpayers by lobbying Congress-Wall Street would've done well to lobby the WTO instead of our politicians if they were actually seeking gains in the PRIVATE sector.   But those losers would rather suck the tits of unemployed taxpayers with these HFT algo platform plunge protection thingies.

-Asians are savers and investors-and gamblers.  Raise OUR interest rates to match theirs then market stocks to Asians.  There should be a much higher volume on the NYSE.  


Who came up with THAT idear?  John Maynard Keynes did in his writings in General Theory.   But he said that we shoud combine currencies with China-well, I would prefer sovereignity except that the Boomer elected politicians already sold us out to both the Federal Reserve and China.  Can somebody please send the memo to Bernanke? 

-You have to invest in your market.  Mao created the famine because failed to do so.   Trouble is that Mao seems to be ruling our side of the pond rather than China's side of the pond.

-*EDUCATION*.  YOU MUST MARKET TO WHERE THE MONEY IS AT.  Asians worship wisdom and the top universities are in the U.S.   Thanks to Wall Street numbnuts, many Universities had to cut admissions because of these interest rate swaps.  Wall Street and investors should be funding INCREASE in admissions with the economic expansion in India and China, and the other countries who are expanding because of China.  That's an economic stimulus right there.

-American marketers need to learn the asian mindset.  Asians assimilate, yes.  But at the end of the day people put their money where their mouth is.   You can't sell beef to a Hindu.  The women hold the purse strings in their families.  Has anyone interfaced with a Tiger mom?  Their kids study 7-8 hours every night.  The family structure is a type A perfectionist type enforced through capital punishment since the offspring is 6 minutes old.  They don't see themselves as individualists but rather a part of a whole, "face" means everything to them.   And yes, in many asian families the preference is a wholesome atmosphere. 

-Mercedes are now the ugliest cars to ever exist.  So are gold plated cars.  Yes this has everything to do with China's status quo is not synonymous with good taste thorught conspicuous consumption or lack thereof.  


Stuck on Zero's picture

Congress is stupid as always.  The way you deal with Chinese mercantilism is not with tariffs.  Tariffs are glaring red flag bullying attempts and will result in universal condemnation.   The solution is tit for tat trading.  Throw in the same thousand non-tariff rules and regulations China utilizies to restrict imports.  Do not use tariffs.  Require any Chinese company that wishes to sell a product here to manufacture here.  Add VAT taxes on anything entering the U.S.  Demand all technological know-how on Chinese products sold here.  Subsidize our industries against theirs.    

s2man's picture

Protectionism.  It works every time.  No, wait...

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

And the United Snakes of America (sorry snakes) doesn't manipulate nothing...???

Fucking hipocrits

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

Typical American Goverment.

Everyone else is the problem ,it's not us.

Fucking delusional criminals.

andyupnorth's picture

So when are the sanctions against the Swiss and Japanese?