The US Treasury Department is likely to label China as a currency manipulator in a report due in mid-April, but the move would be “more symbolic than substantive”, former US trade representative Susan Schwab said.

“There is a high possibility definitely (that China will be labelled as a manipulator), but it is very important to remember that the decision is largely symbolic and does not force any action, other than consultations,” the China Daily quoted Schwab as saying today.

By declaring China a currency manipulator, the US could slap additional tariffs on imports from that country, the daily said. If Washington goes ahead with the move, it will be the first time in 16 years.

Schwab, who served as US trade representative between 2006 and 2009 said, “a significant growing number” of Democrats are increasingly pushing protectionist solutions, which she said was unfortunate.

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