The US Treasury Department on Friday placed India under a watch list that monitors countries’ currency practices. The department in its report observed that the foreign exchange policies of six countries were needed to be monitored. Earlier, the department had five countries – China, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Switzerland – under this list. India is now the sixth country.
In a statement issued on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin said: “The Treasury Department is working vigorously to ensure that trade is free, fair, and reciprocal so American workers and companies can compete and succeed globally. We will continue to monitor and combat unfair currency practices, while encouraging policies and reforms to address large trade imbalances.”
According to the Treasury Department, the findings and recommendations are intended to combat potentially unfair currency practices, support the growth of free and fair trade, and secure stronger and more balanced global growth. “Achieving these goals require that all economies durably avoid macroeconomic, foreign exchange, and trade policies that facilitate unfair competitive advantage,” the Department noted.
The Department’s findings are based on the three key criteria: (1) a significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States, (2) a material current account surplus, and (3) engaged in persistent one-sided intervention in the foreign exchange market.
The Treasury found that no major trading partner of the United States met all three criteria. Five major trading partners of the United States, however, met two of the three criteria for enhanced analysis in this Report. India met two of the three criteria. “Treasury will closely monitor and assess the economic trends and foreign exchange policies of each of these economies,” the department said.
The report also said that India has a significant bilateral goods trade surplus with the United States, totalling USD 23 billion in 2017.
“India increased its purchases of foreign exchange over the first three quarters of 2017. Despite a sharp drop-off in purchases in the fourth quarter, net annual purchases of foreign exchange reached $56 billion in 2017, equivalent to 2.2 per cent of GDP,” the report stated.
It further said: “Given that Indian foreign exchange reserves are ample by common metrics, and that India maintains some controls on both inbound and outbound flows of private capital, further reserve accumulation does not appear necessary.”
US President Donald Trump has been speaking against countries that have trade surplus with America. Last year in September, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that America was interested in growing trade with India but in a balanced way.
He said: “Annual bilateral trade between the US and India has doubled over the last decade and was $114 billion in 2016. Unfortunately, over the same period trade deficit has tripled. We would naturally want to see growing trade and balanced trade.” businesstoday