Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sounded Thursday that he’s in no rush to label China a currency manipulator, backing away from a campaign promise of President Donald Trump.
As part of his plan to “Make America Great Again,” Trump pledged to slap China with 45% import tariffs and declare the current a currency manipulator on Day 1 of his presidency.
“We’re not making any judgements until we continue that process,” he added.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Mnuchin said there would be “no announcement” of any currency manipulation before the department finishes it’s twice-yearly report on exchange rates, next due in April.
is down about 1.1% versus the yuan so far this year.
In the last currency report in October, the Obama administration again declined to name any country a manipulator of its currency. The last time China was cited as a currency manipulator was in 1994
Treasury said China met only one of three criteria to be named a currency manipulator – a large bilateral trade surplus with the U.S.
But the department said China didn’t have a material current account surplus and had not engaged in persistent one-sided intervention in the foreign exchange market.
Mnuchin told CNBC he had “a terrific conversation” with his Chinese counterparts and looks forward to meeting them. That could happen at the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Germany in mid-March.