Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called on lawmakers last week to support the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act, which is designed to provide greater protections to domestic steel producers who are threatened by the illegal practices of foreign competitors.
The bipartisan bill, which was crafted by Brown and passed the Senate in 2011, uses U.S. trade law to beat back against currency manipulation.
Under current law, the Treasury is required to identify countries that manipulate their currency to gain a trade advantage. Based on the current interpretation of “manipulation,” however, the Treasury has refused to name such countries as currency manipulators.
The legislation reworks the currency provisions in the current law and replaces them with a new framework that would require the Treasury to identify “misaligned” currencies and force the administration to respond if the country fails to adopt policies to correct the misalignment.
“As our trade deficit continues to widen, our need to level the playing field for domestic steel producers becomes more urgent,” Brown said. “Our workers can compete with anyone in the world when on a level playing field. That is why we must enforce international law and impose import duties to counteract illegal trade practices from foreign competitors like China.”