Off The Wire
U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices
(Adds quote from U.S. statement, background)
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in a call on Thursday with Vietnam's minister of industry and trade, highlighted U.S. concerns about Vietnam's currency practices, a USTR statement said.
Tai and the Vietnamese minister Tran Tuan Anh also "discussed U.S. concerns on illegal timber practices, digital trade and agriculture," the statement said.
The U.S. 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.
In January, the USTR released the results of its so-called Section 301 investigation into Vietnam's currency practices. It found Vietnam's actions to push down the value of its currency were "unreasonable" and restricted U.S. commerce, but it did not take immediate action to impose punitive tariffs. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)