China as currency manipulator

Mitt Romney promised to label China a "currency manipulator" on his first day in office. 

China’s currency, kept closely pegged to the dollar, has been a sore point between the two countries for several years. China relaxed its currency rules after much lobbying by the Bush administration, reversed course curing the crisis, and has since left the yuan begin rising in value again. Many analysts feel that forces like inflation and China’s larger economic aspirations will lead it to liberalize its currency rules over time.

There’s also debate about how much a weak yuan means to the U.S. It may mean more to countries like Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico that do compete with China in textiles and other lower margin goods.

Presidential candidates have long promised to crack down on China if elected, but none have applied the currency manipulator label. As Bob Schieffer pointed out, there is a fear that such a move would start a trade war and affect unity between China and the U.S. in dealing with geopolitical issues such as Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Fact Checker has noted in at least two columns that former George W. Bush White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten has said that “if history is a guide, such sharp campaign  rhetoric (directed at China) is blunted by the reality of governing.”

Josh Hicks contributed to this report.

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