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‘Currency manipulation’ and world trade

Author

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  • STAIGER, ROBERT W.
  • SYKES, ALAN O.

Abstract

Central bank intervention in foreign exchange markets may, under some conditions, stimulate exports and retard imports. In the past few years, this issue has moved to center stage because of the foreign exchange policies of China. Numerous public officials and commentators argue that China has engaged in impermissible ‘currency manipulation’, and various proposals for stiff action against China have been advanced. This paper considers the relationship between exchange rate policy and international trade, and addresses the questions of whether and how currency manipulation should be addressed by the international trading system. Our conclusions are at odds with much of what is currently being said by proponents of multilateral or unilateral actions against China. In particular, we question whether China's practices can be adjudicated to be ‘manipulation’ under international law, and doubt that their trade effects can be identified with the degree of confidence necessary to ascertain whether the practices ‘frustrate the intent’ of WTO/GATT commitments. The difficulty of identifying the trade effects of currency practices undermines the ability of the WTO dispute resolution system to address them, and calls into question the wisdom and legitimacy of unilateral countermeasures that have been proposed in various quarters.

Suggested Citation

  • Staiger, Robert W. & Sykes, Alan O., 2010. "‘Currency manipulation’ and world trade," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 583-627, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:9:y:2010:i:04:p:583-627_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2014. "Fiscal Devaluations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 725-760.
    2. Yin-Wong Cheung & Sven Steinkamp & Frank Westermann, 2019. "A Tale of Two Surplus Countries: China and Germany," IEER Working Papers 114, Institute of Empirical Economic Research, Osnabrueck University.
    3. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2012. "Who should bear the cost of China’s carbon emissions embodied in goods for exports?," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 24(2), pages 103-117, June.
    4. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Matthieu Bussière & Pauline Wibaux, 2018. "Trade and currency weapons," Working Papers 2018-08, CEPII research center.
    5. Anton Korinek, 2016. "Currency Wars or Efficient Spillovers? A General Theory of International Policy Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 23004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:inecon:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:154-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Anton Korinek, 2017. "Currency wars or efficient spillovers?," BIS Working Papers 615, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Auboin, Marc & Ruta, Michel, 2011. "The relationship between exchange rates and International Trade: A review of economic literature," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2011-17, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    9. Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sébastien Jean, 2013. "Trade liberalization in the bio-economy: coping with a new landscape," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(s1), pages 173-182, November.
    10. Rachel McCulloch, 2010. "The International Trading System and Its Future," Working Papers 08, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    11. Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sébastien Jean, 2013. "International Agricultural Trade and Negotiations : Coping with a New Landscape," FOODSECURE Working papers 8, LEI Wageningen UR.
    12. Marchetti, Juan & Ruta, Michele & Teh, Robert, 2012. "Trade imbalances and multilateral trade cooperation," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2012-23, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    13. Aleh Mazol, 2015. "Exchange Rate, Imports of Intermediate and Capital Goods and GDP Growth in Belarus," BEROC Working Paper Series 32, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC).
    14. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:87-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:bla:apacel:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:39-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Juan Marchetti & Michele Ruta & Robert Teh, 2012. "Trade Imbalances and Multilateral Trade Cooperation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4050, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Arnaud Costinot & Iván Werning, 2017. "The Lerner Symmetry Theorem: Generalizations and Qualifications," NBER Working Papers 23427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Ramirez, Carlos D., 2013. "The political economy of “currency manipulation” bashing," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 227-237.
    19. Fitzgerald, Doireann & Haller, Stefanie, 2018. "Exporters and shocks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 154-171.
    20. Alessandro Nicita, 2013. "Exchange rates, international trade and trade policies," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 135-136, pages 47-61.
    21. Salamat Ali, 2017. "Exchange Rate Effects on Agricultural Exports: Firm-level Evidence from Pakistan," Discussion Papers 2017-09, University of Nottingham, GEP.

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