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The Hill: Senate Passes Bill On China's Currency

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The Senate took up two major bills Tuesday evening: one on unfair currency manipulation in China, and another to proceed with President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill. Alex Bolton, senior staff writer with The Hill, talked with WAMU All Things Considered Host Pat Brogan about what the former  could mean for U.S. trade policy with China.

China currency bill passes Senate

The China currency bill would empower the U.S. government to impose trade sanctions on China if there was a finding that China was unfairly manipulating its currency to give itself a trade advantage.

The bill was proposed a few years ago, but it has been gaining popularity in recent months, Bolton says. Although it's not uniformly popular, "Some major exporters to China aren't big fans," Bolton says. 

Those exporters, which include Boeing, argue that China could retaliate by slapping its own tariffs on U.S. goods. Proponents of the legislation say the concerns are "overblown," because the trade deficit is so far in China's favor, according to Bolton.

The bill did pass in the Senate, but Bolton predicts a roadblock for it in the house. Despite the fact that the House companion legislation has more than 50 Republican co-sponsors, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ind.) has been unwilling to challenge China on its currency to this point.

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