U.S. to press currency policy around Pacific trade talks

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will press potential partners in a Pacific trade pact for agreement on currency policies “in the context of” the trade deal, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Tuesday.

It was not clear what form this agreement could take as the negotiators from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries try to reach a Trans Pacific Partnership deal.

Pressure from the U.S. Congress has already led U.S. officials to broach the sensitive topic of currency with America’s 11 potential TPP partners, Lew said at a conference on international economic policy.

“It’s the reason we can have a conversation with them about what can we do in the context of TPP on currency,” Lew said. “So we will continue the conversation on a very hard issue like currency and I think we will achieve something.”

Some U.S. lawmakers are pressuring U.S. trade negotiators to include enforceable provisions over currency in the TPP, which Lew said could sink the whole deal.

“I don’t think there’s another country in the world that would agree to that,” Lew said. “So I think it’s a poison pill in terms of getting an agreement on TPP.”

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Matthew Lewis)

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