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DOC Rules Against Using Currency Manipulation In Countervailing Duty Cases

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Editor's note:
James A. Morrissey Sr., 81, died peacefully in his sleep Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, at his home in Potomac Falls, Va. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Constance M. Morrissey; four children, James A. Morrissey Jr., Erin M. Ingrisano, Patrick E. Morrissey and Michael C. Morrissey; 10 grandchildren; and sister, Marilyn Roberts. Morrissey was a long-time contributor to Textile World, holding the position of Washington correspondent following a 28-year career as director of communications for the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. He also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America Hall of Fame.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Prostate Cancer Coalition 1-703-339-0508; www.vapcacoalition.org. Morrissey was a prostate cancer survivor and dedicated much time as a volunteer to provide support to other cancer patients.

Last week, Morrissey filed the following report -- sadly, as it turns out, his final report, which was posted September 1. He will be greatly missed by TW staff and the readers of his weekly online reports from Washington and his bimonthly "Washington Outlook" column.

If you have remembrances of Morrissey's contributions to the textile industry that you would like to share with TW, please email your thoughts to Morrissey@TextileWorld.com.

In a major setback for U.S. manufacturers, the Department of Commerce (DOC) has ruled that alleged currency manipulation will not be used in evaluating countervailing duty cases currently under consideration. DOC declined to investigate the allegations, saying the charges fail to meet requirements for the initiation of an investigation.

The Fair Currency Coalition (FCC), which includes a number of textile organizations, expressed its "deep disappointment" with the decision and called for enactment of legislation, currently pending in Congress, that would brand currency manipulation an unfair subsidy subject to countervailing duties.

In response to the decision, FCC Executive Director Charles Blum said: "Once again Commerce has dropped the ball. Its refusal to act places onus squarely on Congress to reverse this job-destroying decision." He added that "for years China has massively intervened to keep its currency undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar by an estimated 35 to 40 percent.

"The currency allegations under review were made in the context of both aluminum extrusion and coated paper cases. In announcing the decision, Acting Assistant Secretary for Import Administration Ronald K. Lorentzen said: "In these two cases The Department has determined not to investigate whether alleged undervaluation of China's currency is a countervailable subsidy, because the allegations made by domestic producers do not meet the statutory standard for initiating an investigation under the requirement that benefits provided by China's unified foreign exchange regime be specific to the enterprise or industries being investigated." In its preliminary finding, DOC did, however, determine that $514 million of aluminum products imported from China were unfairly subsidized -- completely apart from the currency issue.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a sponsor of currency legislation pending in the Senate, said, "The Obama Administration is still managing to ignore the elephant in the room, [and] even when the opportunity is thrust into its hands it has refused to take action."

News item originally posted on September 1, 2010