The U.S. released its twice-annual report on exchange-rate policies of trading partners and — surprise — China wasn’t branded a currency manipulator. The last time that happened was 1994.
The Treasury Department’s report said China’s currency is “significantly undervalued,” an assessment that didn’t go far enough for Mitt Romney. Lanhee Chen, policy director for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said President Barack Obama “tried to hide his administration’s decision not to acknowledge that China manipulates its currency with a delayed Memorial Day weekend announcement.”
Delaying the report for release around holidays is a tactic sometimes used by administrations. The Treasury has often cited upcoming international meetings as the reason for pushing back the report. Today’s was originally scheduled for April 15. The last one, due Oct. 15, was released Dec. 27 — Christmas week. The one before that, due April 15, 2011, was released May 27, also the Friday before Memorial Day.
In an email today, Ben LaBolt, the president’s campaign spokesman, said Obama “has consistently pressed the Chinese on the undervaluation of their currency. That’s why he’s taken action against unfair trade practices, doubling the rate of trade cases against China compared to the prior administration. When President Obama enforced trade laws against China, Mitt Romney called it ’bad for the nation and our workers.’ “