On December 16, 2020, US Department of the Treasury delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. Treasury determined that both Vietnam and Switzerland are currency manipulators. For each country, Treasury assessed, based on a range of evidence and circumstances, that at least part of its exchange rate management over the four quarters through June 2020, and particularly foreign exchange intervention, was for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments and, in the case of Vietnam, for gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade as well.
Based on these determinations, Treasury stated that it “will press for the adoption of policies that will permit effective balance of payments adjustments and eliminate the unfair advantages in trade that result from their actions.”
[Note: Two statutes are involved: the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (the “2015 Act”) and the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (the “1988 Act”). Because the standards and criteria in the 1988 Act and the 2015 Act are distinct, an economy could be found to meet the standards identified in one of the Acts without being found to have met the standards identified in the other.]
In addition, 10 economies — China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and India — are on Treasury’s Monitoring List, with the last three as recent additions.
As you may recall, USTR recently opened a Section 301 Investigation into Vietnam’s currency valuation practices.