Defying Chinese anger and White House warnings, the US Senate was set Tuesday to approve legislation to punish China for alleged currency manipulation widely blamed here for costing American jobs.
The proposal, powered by a tide of US voter frustration at a sour economy and high unemployment ahead of November 2012 elections, envisions retaliatory duties on Chinese exports if the yuan’s value is unfairly “misaligned.”
The Democratic-held Senate was due to approve the measure after 5:30 pm (2130 GMT), shifting the spotlight to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner has condemned the “dangerous” bill.
Few in Washington dispute the charge that China keeps the yuan unfairly low against the dollar, giving its goods as much as a 30 percent edge over similar US products, widening the American trade deficit and costing jobs here.
The measure’s opponents also contend that, if successful, the bill will increase the cost of commodities or consumer goods from China, hurting rather than helping US businesses and families.