POINT: U.S. politicians frequently suggest that China needs to increase the value of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar, even since China has allowed the yuan to float (within boundaries). The U.S. politicians claim that the yuan is the cause of the large U.S. trade deficit with China. This issue is periodically raised not only with currencies tied to the dollar, but also with currencies that have a floating rate. Some critics argue that the exchange rate can be used as a form of trade protectionism. That is, a country can discourage or prevent imports and encourage exports by keeping the value of its currency artificially low.
COUNTER-POINT: China might counter that its large balance of trade surplus with the U.S. has been due to the differences in prices between the two countries, and that it should not be blamed for the high U.S. prices. It might argue that the U.S. trade deficit can be partially attributed to the very high prices in the U.S., which are necessary to cover the excessive compensation for executives and other employees at U.S. firms. The high prices in the U.S. encourage firms and consumers to purchase goods from China. Even if China’s yuan is revalued upward, this does not necessarily mean that the U.S. firms and consumers will purchase U.S. products. They may shift their purchases from China to purchase products in Indonesia or other low-wage countries rather than buy more products from the U.S. Thus, the underlying dilemma is not China, but any country that has lower costs of production than the U.S.
WHO IS CORRECT? Use the Internet to learn more about this issue and site at least 2 sources in your discussion. Which argument do you support? Offer your own opinion on this issue. Suggest a possible way that the U.S. might influence/encourage China let its currency float freely in the currency market.
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