* Top Democrat says China "not playing by the rules"
* House to hold hearing on China currency in September
* Lawmakers to vote on three manufacturing bills next week
(Adds Hoyer quotes, background)
By Doug Palmer
WASHINGTON, July 23 A coalition of U.S.
business groups urged House of Representatives Speaker Nancy
Pelosi not to include legislation aimed at forcing China to
revalue its currency in a pre-election package of bills
intended to help U.S. manufacturers.
"We agree that China needs an exchange rate that better
responds to global trade flows ... We strongly disagree that
legislation is the best means to achieve that goal," the
U.S.-China Business Council and about two dozen other business
groups said in a letter released on Friday.
House Democrats, in the run-up to the congressional
elections in November, have started touting a "Make it in
America" agenda aimed at boosting manufacturing jobs.
Bowing to pressure for action on China's currency, which
many lawmakers believe is unfairly undervalued against the
dollar by 25 percent to 40 percent, the House Ways and Means
Trade Committee will hold a hearing on possible legislative
options when lawmakers return the week of Sept. 12 from a
six-week recess that begins July 31.
"We're prepared to compete with anybody in the world but,
we can't compete when the rules are skewed against us and that
is what the hearing will address ... We frankly think there are
a number of areas in which China is not playing by the rules,"
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters.
Representative Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is expected to
testify at the September hearing on a bipartisan bill he has
crafted with Representative Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania
Republican, which has 130 co-sponsors in the House.
It would require the Commerce Department to apply
countervailing or anti-dumping duties against countries that
are found by the U.S. government to have a fundamentally
undervalued exchange rate against the U.S. dollar.
It is similar to a bipartisan bill backed by Senator
Charles Schumer of New York and others in the Senate.
"China is unlikely to proceed more quickly with currency
reforms if threatened with this action," the business groups
said in their letter to Pelosi and Hoyer.
Rather than accomplish its goal of helping U.S.
manufacturers, the Ryan-Murphy bill would "likely result in the
loss of jobs and market share in many competitive U.S.
agricultural, manufacturing and service industries that either
operate in or export to China," the groups said.
However, many U.S. steel, textile and other
import-sensitive manufacturers say the legislation would help
keep jobs in the United States.
The House will vote on three bills next week as part of its
One would require the White House to develop and update a
manufacturing strategy every four years.
A second would bar President Barack Obama from submitting
any free trade agreement to Congress until a commission
established by the bill makes recommendations for cutting the
U.S. trade deficit and Congress has held hearings on the
The third would create a $15 million fund to support the
development of a National Clean Energy Export Strategy and
provide export assistance to clean energy companies.
The bills would also have to be approved by the Senate to
(Additional reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Dan