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Accountability and Oversight of US Exchange Rate Policy

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  • C. Randall Henning

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

The dispute over Chinese exchange rate policy within the United States has generated a series of legislative proposals to restrict the discretion of the US Treasury Department in determining currency manipulation and to reform the department's accountability to the Congress. This study reviews the Treasury's reports to the Congress on exchange rate policy--introduced by the 1988 trade act--and Congress's treatment of them. It finds that the accountability process has often not worked well in practice: The coverage of the reports has sometimes been incomplete and not provided a sufficient basis for congressional oversight. Nor has Congress always performed its own role well, holding hearings on less than half of the reports and overlooking important substantive issues. Several recommendations can improve guidance to the Treasury, standards for assessment, and congressional oversight. These include (1) refining the criteria used to determine currency manipulation and writing them into law; (2) explicitly harnessing US decisions on manipulation to the IMF's rules on exchange rates; (3) clarifying the general objectives of US exchange rate policy; (4) reaffirming the mandate to seek international macroeconomic and currency cooperation; and (5) institutionalizing multicommittee oversight of exchange rate policy by Congress. As they develop legislation targeting manipulation, furthermore, legislators should not lose sight of the broader purposes of the 1988 act relating to the effective valuation of the dollar, the current account, and their ramifications for the US economy overall.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Randall Henning, 2008. "Accountability and Oversight of US Exchange Rate Policy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4198.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:4198
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    Cited by:

    1. Rod Tyers & Ying Zhang, 2014. "Real exchange rate determination and the China puzzle," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 28(2), pages 1-32, November.
    2. Rod Tyers & Jenny Corbett, 2012. "Japan's economic slowdown and its global implications: a review of the economic modelling," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 26(2), pages 1-28, November.
    3. Robert Lavigne & Lawrence Schembri, 2009. "Strengthening IMF Surveillance: An Assessment of Recent Reforms," Discussion Papers 09-10, Bank of Canada.
    4. Rod Tyers, 2012. "Japanese Economic Stagnation: Causes and Global Implications," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(283), pages 517-536, December.
    5. Rod Tyers & Ying Zhang, 2011. "Japan’s Economic Recovery: Insights from Multi-Region Dynamics," CAMA Working Papers 2011-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    6. Vipin Arora & Rod Tyers & Ying Zhang, 2014. "Reconstructing the Savings Glut: The Global Implications of Asian Excess Saving," CAMA Working Papers 2014-20, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    7. Joseph E. Gagnon & C. Fred Bergsten, 2012. "Currency Manipulation, the US Economy, and the Global Economic Order," Policy Briefs PB12-25, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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