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U.S. removes China from list of currency manipulators ahead of China deal signing

U.S. & China to sign "Phase One" trade deal

The Trump administration is removing China from its list of currency manipulators, as CBS News learned and the Treasury Department soon confirmed. 

The removal comes just before President Trump is to sign the "Phase One" trade deal with China in a ceremony at the White House on Wednesday. The U.S. labeled China as a currency manipulator in August 2019, and doing so was a key agenda item for Mr. Trump. But reaching a trade agreement with China has also been a top priority for the president, as he looks for signature accomplishments in the headwinds of impeachment, ahead of the November presidential election. 

The Treasury Department announced the designation change in a monetary policy report released Monday afternoon.  It concluded that "while the currency practices of ten countries were found to require close attention, no major U.S. trading partner at this time met the relevant 1988 or 2015 legislative criteria for currency manipulation or enhanced analysis."  

"Intensive trade and currency negotiations between the United States and China over the last few months resulted in a Phase One agreement that requires structural reforms and other changes to China's economic and trade regime in several key areas, including currency and foreign exchange issues," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said in its report. "In this agreement, China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation and not target its exchange rate for competitive purposes. ... In this context, Treasury has determined that China should no longer be designated as a currency manipulator at this time."

Mnuchin also said that the Phase One Agreement was "significant" and "will lead to greater economic growth and opportunity for American workers and businesses."

— CBS News' Ben Tracy contributed to this report 

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