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Chamber Says It Can’t Protect China From Protectionist Backlash If It Doesn’t Readjust Its Currency

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Chamber Says It Can’t Protect China From Protectionist Backlash If It Doesn’t Readjust Its Currency"

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It’s not a health care story, but this from the FT strikes me as incredibly important:

The US business community can no longer resist political pressure for Washington to take a tougher stand against China on trade issues, according to a senior figure from the US Chamber of Commerce.

Myron Brilliant, senior vice-president for international affairs, who has previously helped to protect Beijing from hawkish trade policies, told the Financial Times: “I don’t think the Chinese government can count on the American business community to be able to push back and block action [on Capitol Hill].” [...]

Mr Brilliant said corporate America’s attitude had changed in response to a range of “industrial policies” pursued by Beijing, including the undervaluation of the renminbi, which made it harder for US companies to do business and compete with China. He also cited the tough economic times in the US – particularly the near 10 per cent jobless rate – as making it more difficult to argue against tough action on China.

I think retaliatory trade action against China might be even worse than the disease of misaligned exchange rates. But hopefully the Chamber’s message here will get through to the PRC’s leadership, and they’ll agree to revalue of their own accord (which really would be the best thing for China as well as the United States) thus letting us avoid a dymamic in which they may feel that they don’t want to be seen as “backing down.” The signal from the Chamber here ought to be a powerful one—simply put if the most important business lobby in the country is saying it won’t seriously lean against retaliatory measures, then such measures are extremely likely to pass in congress.

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