A leading U.S. senator said on Thursday he was crafting a bipartisan bill aimed at ensuring that China lives up to its international trade commitments.
‘I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress on China’s currency, so that’s one area I’m looking into,’ Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said at a hearing on the 2006 U.S. trade agenda.
Many members of Congress are upset with Beijing’s rigid currency policy, which they say is partly to blame for last year’s record $202 billion trade deficit with China.
They say China’s yuan is undervalued by 15 to 40 percent, giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage in world trade.
Lawmakers also accuse Beijing of allowing rampant counterfeiting and piracy of American goods, subsidizing favored industries and blocking many imports.
‘The key point is that China must live up to its commitments and to its responsibilities as a major beneficiary of the global trading system,’ said Grassley, an Iowa Republican.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, any bill Grassley sponsors has a better chance of becoming law than several competing China bills that have been introduced.
Grassley said he planned to work closely with Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, to develop a bipartisan bill that would address a number of broad trade concerns, such as enforcement of international trade agreements.
Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, introduced legislation on Thursday to strengthen the U.S. Trade Representative’s office by creating a chief enforcement officer to investigate suspected trade violations by other countries and recommend appropriate U.S. action.