Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

Obama Abe TTP Yin Bogu/ZumaPress

The Chimera of Currency Manipulation

If the US were to insist that “strong and enforceable currency disciplines” be part of trade agreements, as some in Congress are demanding for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU, no deals would be concluded. Other countries would refuse – and they would be right.

CAMBRIDGE – US President Barack Obama is still pressing to obtain Trade Promotion Authority and use it to conclude negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. But many in the US Congress insist that provisions must be added to the agreements to prevent currency manipulation.

Let’s be clear: If the US were to insist that “strong and enforceable currency disciplines” be part of trade agreements, no deals would be concluded. Other countries would refuse – and they would be right. Linking efforts to prevent currency manipulation to trade agreements has always been a bad idea, and it still is.

True, there are times when particular countries’ currencies can be judged to be undervalued or overvalued, and there are times when their trading partners have a legitimate interest in raising the issue. But even when currency misalignment is relatively clear, trade agreements are not the right way to address it. More suitable venues for resolving exchange-rate issues include the International Monetary Fund, the G-20, the G-7, and bilateral negotiations.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/41wJep1;
  1. bildt71_HOW HWEE YOUNGAFP via Getty Images_vonderleyenchinaarmy How Hwee Young/AFP via Getty Images

    Which Way for Europe on China?

    Carl Bildt

    Under its new leadership, the European Union has promised to step up its engagement on the world stage to ensure that it does not become a pawn in an escalating Sino-American great-power rivalry. To succeed, it will have to strike a careful balance between economic priorities and its own security.

    7
  2. wei22_FABRICE COFFRINIAFP via Getty Images_WTOredlight Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

    How to Revive the WTO

    Shang-Jin Wei & Xinding Yu

    The World Trade Organization’s appellate body is under threat not from China, but from the United States, which is blocking the appointment of new judges to the panel. Reviving the WTO will require changes to the organization's rules – but killing its dispute-settlement system is not the solution.

    1