Democrat leader says Trump should label China a currency manipulator

James Tennent
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Days after a summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump should call out China as a currency manipulator to "send a shot across the bow that things are different."

"For far too long China has taken us to the cleaners when it comes to the economy. China has stolen millions of jobs and trillions of dollars, much of it in ways that are below the board," Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.

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Tackling issues around trade with China was something that Schumer said Democrats would be able to work with the president on. He went so far as to say he agreed more with Trump than former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, "in my opinion, both of them let China take huge advantage of working people."

Schumer criticised Trump for not following through on campaign promises to tackle trade with China on day one of his presidency. "We can work together to push back on China's rapacious trade policy," the Senate Minority Leader said, "but unfortunately when it comes to China, President Trump has been all talk and no action."

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Schumer said China was not currently manipulating its currency but that "very few people who study it have any doubt that, if it suited them to manipulate it again, they would in the future".

Trump met with Xi last week for a two-day summit at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Afterwards, he said "tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed" during the meeting "but only time will tell on trade."

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced, after the meeting, that the two countries would undergo 100 days of trade discussions. "Given the range of issues and the magnitude, that may be ambitious, but it's a very big sea change in the pace of discussions," Ross said, adding that it was a "a very very important symbolization of the growing rapport between the two countries."

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