As Congress resumes work this spring on a bill granting Trade Promotion Authority to President Obama for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, many members have sought inclusion of a chapter on currency manipulation. Currency manipulation is a legitimate concern. However, countermeasures require clear, objective identification of currency manipulation. Both the IMF and the U.S. Treasury Department have mandates to identify currency manipulation, yet neither has done so in the past 20 years. If it can be done, why has it not happened more often?
In this issue brief, Russell Green, Will Clayton Fellow in International Economics, reviews the difficulties of operationalizing a currency manipulation chapter and argues that the difficulty of identifying currency manipulation suggests serious political obstacles to implementation.