WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump’s administration said on Friday Vietnam’s actions to push down the value of its currency are “unreasonable” and restrict US commerce, but did not take immediate action to impose punitive tariffs.
Releasing the results of its socalled Section 301 investigation into Vietnam’s currency practices, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office said it would continue to evaluate all available options to correct the situation.
That process will pass to the administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to take office on Wednesday.
The US Treasury Department in December labeled Vietnam a “currency manipulator” due to its growing trade surplus with the United States, its large global current account surplus and heavy foreign exchange market intervention to hold down the value of its dong currency.
Business groups and trade experts had feared this would lead to tariffs in the USTR investigation opened last October as a parting shot from the Republican Trump, who aggressively imposed tariffs during his four years in office.
The USTR said it consulted the Treasury Department on Vietnam’s exchange-rate policies.
“Unfair acts, policies and practices that contribute to currency undervaluation harm US workers and businesses, and need to be addressed,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “I hope that the United States and Vietnam can find a path for addressing our concerns.”
Vietnamese government said on Saturday it welcomed the decision of the USTR, describing it as “a positive result” of the efforts of the government and businesses from both Vietnam and the US.