U.S. to seek currency chapters in trade talks with Japan, others: Mnuchin

Vastavam web: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that Washington wants to include a provision to deter currency manipulation in future trade deals, including with Japan, based on the currency chapter in the new deal to revamp NAFTA. The remark drew concern in Japan, where local media ran front-page stories questioning whether this would give Washington the right to label as currency manipulation any future foreign exchange market interventions by Tokyo to keep sharp yen rises in check.

Mnuchin told reporters at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Bali that Washington views the currency chapter in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a model for future trade deals to deter trading partners from currency manipulation. “Our objective would be that the currency issues We’d like to include (them) in future trade agreements. With everybody. I’m not singling out Japan on that,” Mnuchin said, when asked whether the United States will discuss currencies in trade negotiations with Japan.

Mnuchin has criticized China for recent declines in the yuan’s value, and said Washington also wants to make currency issues a central part of any talks to resolve the U.S.-China trade conflict. Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who oversees trade talks with the United States, said on Sunday he had so far made no discussions on currencies with his counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in September to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs. Along with fears of being slapped with higher tariffs on its auto exports to the United States, Japan worries about having its hands tied on addressing sharp yen rises that hurts its export-reliant economy.