WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators said on Tuesday they would push for quick action on a bipartisan bill aimed at making China raise the value of its currency.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he wanted a vote on the bill by the end of May regardless of whether President Barack Obama’s administration has formally labeled China a currency manipulator in an April 15 report.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he agreed quick congressional action was needed because the pace of China’s currency reforms have been so slow.
Both senators said they believed China responded only to pressure on the currency front.
“I think our pressure is going to make a difference, not only to China, but to the administration,” Schumer said.
“I think Treasury is seriously considering it,” he said, when asked if thought the Obama administration would label China a currency manipulator in the upcoming report.
Graham said he was prepared to meet with Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, who is due to visit Washington this week for talks on trade and currency issues.
But “at the end of the day, China is too big to be allowed to have this advantage ... The only thing they seem to respond to is pressure,” Graham said.
Schumer and Graham’s bill would no longer require Treasury to decide every six months whether China or any other country is manipulating its currency.
Instead, it would be required to identify countries with fundamentally misaligned currencies, and allow U.S. companies to seek anti-dumping duties against any targeted country that does not reform its policy.
“My belief is that China will not do anything unless they’re required to, and every day we wait is a day we lose wealth, we lose economic advantage, we lose jobs,” Schumer said.
Chinese officials have said they hope a high-level “strategic economic dialogue” at the end of May would take some of the tension out trade and currency disputes.
Schumer said he would press for vote in the Senate on the bipartisan bill before then.
Reporting by Doug Palmer and Paul Eckert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama