By Vicki Needham - 10/18/12 05:30 PM EDT
Hatch’s request comes on the heels of the Treasury Department’s decision to delay the release of its semi-annual currency report until after a finance meeting in November. The report was due Oct. 15.
“Not only does this contravene the clear requirements of the statute, it raises questions about the Obama administration’s commitment to addressing the serious issue of currency misalignment and manipulation.”
The prickly issue has emerged in the campaign for the White House between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
During Tuesday night's presidential debate, Romney reiterated that he would deem China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and consider additional tariffs on Chinese goods to would stop the nation from "cheating" on international trade rules.
Obama argued that his administration has made steady progress to bring China into compliance with regular meetings between U.S. and Chinese leaders that have forced Beijing to let its currency increase in value by 11 percent during his presidency, while simultaneously cracking down on intellectual property theft and China's favoritism toward its own companies.
Labeling China a currency manipulator would require them to "push back" and "no automatic trigger that results from it," Obama said recently.
Some business groups, including the U.S-China Business Council have said that the move would probably slow progress and only harm the already tenuous relationship and probably demotivate China. They also have said the currency isn't harming the U.S. as much as it is argued.
The Senate has passed legislation to compel China to let its currency rise and revamp its intellectual property system or face additional tariffs but the bill never gained traction in the House.
USCBC has said it is less concerned with the currency issue because, during the past several years, it has been proven that the exchange doesn't affect the trade balance between the two nations and that the yuan has been gradually appreciating.
Still, there is a push to be more forceful with China.
"Given the large and growing trade deficit with China, it is simply unacceptable for the Obama administration to continually shirk its responsibility to articulate, in a timely manner, a clear and coherent policy regarding currency misalignment and manipulation," Hatch wrote.