Asian countries Switzerland at risk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury could label several countries currency manipulators before President Donald Trump leaves office, analysts say, as the coronavirus pandemic skews trade flows and widens U.S. deficits with trading partners.

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While President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be less confrontational with U.S. allies on matters of trade, a new White House could find it politically difficult to immediately walk back designations of currency manipulation by the current administration.

To be labeled a manipulator, countries must at least have a $20 billion-plus bilateral trade surplus with the United States, foreign currency intervention exceeding 2% of GDP and a global current account surplus exceeding 2% of GDP.

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Brad Setser, a former U.S. Treasury economist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Trade surpluses for Asian economies exporting personal protective equipment and other supplies needed to fight the pandemic have jumped, while capital has surged into safe haven currencies such as the Swiss franc, driving them higher.

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The Treasury has often treated Switzerland differently because it views Switzerland’s intervention as not trade-driven, but that could change this time, said Mark Sobel, another former Treasury and International Monetary Fund official.

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Vietnam’s currency practices have been in the Trump administration’s crosshairs for months, as the U.S. Trade Representative’s office investigates the undervaluation of the dong.

Business groups are concerned the administration could make moves, such as punitive tariffs, on these soon.

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Asian countries Switzerland at risk

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Asian countries Switzerland at risk

Asian countries Switzerland at risk