Date
13 November 2018
The US aims to make currency issues a central part of trade talks with other countries, Steven Mnuchin indicated over the weekend. Photo: Reuters
The US aims to make currency issues a central part of trade talks with other countries, Steven Mnuchin indicated over the weekend. Photo: Reuters

US to seek currency chapters in trade talks with Japan, others

Washington wants to include a provision to deter currency manipulation in future trade deals, including with Japan, based on the currency chapter in the new deal to revamp NAFTA, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday.

Mnuchin told reporters at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Bali that Washington views the currency chapter in the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a model for future trade deals to deter trading partners from currency manipulation, Reuters reports.

“Our objective would be that the currency issues … We’d like to include (them) in future trade agreements. With everybody. I’m not singling out Japan on that,” Mnuchin said, when asked whether the United States will discuss currencies in trade negotiations with Japan.

“We haven’t had specific conversations on that. We obviously continually have conversations with my counterparts about currency. But that is the model we’d like to incorporate going forward,” he said.

Mnuchin’s remarks drew concern in Japan, where local media ran front-page stories questioning whether this would give Washington the right to label as currency manipulation any future foreign exchange market interventions by Tokyo to keep sharp yen rises in check.

US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in September to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs.

Along with fears of being slapped with higher tariffs on its auto exports to the US, Japan worries about having its hands tied on addressing sharp yen rises that hurts its export-reliant economy.

Trump in the past has criticized the Bank of Japan’s ultra-easy monetary policy, saying it was aimed at weakening the yen, a claim the central bank dismisses, Reuters noted.

His treasury chief, meanwhile, has criticized China for recent declines in the yuan’s value, and said Washington wants to make currency issues a central part of any talks to resolve the US-China trade conflict.

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RC

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