The Office of the United States Trade Representative has issued a report on foreign trade barriers. Contained within is no mention whatsoever of Chinese currency manipulation. There is mention of VAT manipulation, tariff-rate quotas and even a 35% tariff on raisins. (who knew?)
While the press is calling this report hard line, I find it kind of wimpy and even question some of the trade figures quoted.
If you wish to read some real stuff on China, go to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission site and read their reports and hearings. Just take this one, on China's industrial policy and look at China's strategic short and medium term plans. This is what they intend to dominate in just Science and Technology:
Under China's S&T Plan, key projects cover a number of priority sectors:
- core electronic components, high-end general chips and basic software;
- the technology for manufacturing extremely large integrated circuits;
- new-generation broadband wireless mobile telecommunications;
- high-end numerical controlled machine tools and basic manufacturing technology;
- development of large oil and gas fields;
- large nuclear power plants with advanced pressurized water reactor, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors;
- control and treatment of pollution in water bodies;
- nurturing new, genetically modified biological species;
- development of important new drugs;
- control and treatment of major contagious diseases such as AIDS and viral hepatitis;
- large aircraft; high-resolution earth observing system;
- manned space flights;
- lunar exploration projects.
Right, we have one trade representative who dares not mention the most obvious problem with China while China has teams, divisions, strategic short, median and long term planning and how to go about capturing and developing industries, complete with a host of trade tools and strategies to protect those very endeavors.
We're talking about raisin tariffs, China is busy with a long term manufacturing and industrial policy. Does the U.S. have one of those? Not that I am aware of.
Here is the complete USTR report, National Trade Estimate on Foreign Trade Barriers (warning, large pdf). I strongly suggest reading it to at least realize, there are many ways to restrict imports coming into your country, not just tariffs.