WASHINGTON: China has been a "substantial currency manipulator" in the past which has led to loss of jobs in America, President Donald Trump's nominee to be the US Trade Representative has alleged.
"In the past, it is my judgement that China was a substantial currency manipulator. And I think we've lost a lot of jobs in the United States because of it. And by the way, it's not just China, there are other countries that have done it," Robert Lighthizer told members of the Senate Finance Committee during a confirmation hearing for the position of US Trade Representative (USTR).
"Whether China is manipulating the currency right now to weaken it is another question," he said, adding that this is for the US Treasury Secretary to decide.
He was responding to a question from Senator Debbie Stabenow who wanted to know why President Trump has not declared China a currency manipulator even as he said in his election campaign that he would do so on day one of his presidency.
"The President said one day he would label China the currency manipulator. You've made very strong comments in the past, China engages in currency manipulation; China is by far our biggest trade problem," she said.
"We've seen the president say that the grand champion of currency manipulation is China. But then we see on February 24, Secretary Mnuchin signals the White House is not sure what they're going to do on currency manipulation," Stabenow said.
She also pointed out that China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services.
Stabenow was joined by a few other lawmakers on this issue.
"I believe that if your concern is that the President would somehow not defend America against China because of trademarks, I want to let you be assured that that is not the case and I would also say that I'll bet you and I will sit down in your office between now and the time I leave and you will say, "Bob, you were right. He really is going to change the paradigm on China, the USTR nominee said