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Doug Krizner: Today Congress considers new ways to help the Treasury Department pressure China over the value of its currency. The stubborn weakness of yuan against the dollar has been blamed for creating a huge trade deficit with China. Also on the Hill today, new legislation will be unveiled aimed at boosting U.S.-China competitiveness. Steve Tripoli has more.
Steve Tripoli: It’s called the U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda. The package of bills aims to help small businesses get into China, expand America’s diplomatic presence there and foster new cooperation on energy issues.
Trade expert Hank Levine says the bills send a constructive message.
Hank Levine: The fact is that there’s a lot the U.S. can be doing itself on our side. Some of those steps are the kinds of things included in this legislation.
Washington Democrat Rick Larsen co-chairs Congress’s U.S.-China Working Group. He says the package is a kind of congressional carrot. The stick has been punitive actions over issues like China’s currency valuation.
Rick Larsen: I think members of Congress are looking for opportunities to positively engage China, rather than just spend all of our time doing China-bashing.
Hank Levine says the Chinese probably welcome this legislation. They want improved trade, he says, and working with America buys time for more sensitive domestic changes they’re under pressure to make.
I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.
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