The U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken the significant step to designate China as a ‘currency manipulator’. Having been on the ‘monitoring list’ and the subject of complaints and threats by the president for some time, the U.S. will now request the IMF to “eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions”. There are three measures which the U.S. considers when classifying a country as a currency manipulator:
1. Significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States
2. Material current account surplus
3. Country engaged in persistent one-sided intervention in the foreign exchange market
Some countries only fulfill one or two of these requirements and may also then be added to the monitoring list. As this infographic shows, there are currently eight countries on the list, including Germany and Ireland, as well as close East Asian ally South Korea. This is the second time the United States has labelled China in this way, after the Clinton administration did the same in 1994.