Grassley: China 'cheating on their currency'

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyScandal in Puerto Rico threatens chance at statehood Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection MORE (R-Iowa) said Monday he doesn’t have any issue saying that China is “cheating” on its currency, even as the Trump administration avoids making such claims.

“I’ve advocated some very prominent things like calling China out for not letting their currency float, for example,” Grassley said in a Fox Business Network appearance.

“We’ve been very cautious about that, both with Republicans and Democrats,” he added. “I don’t see anything wrong with saying they’re cheating on their currency.”

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The Treasury Department last April did not label any country, including China, as a currency manipulator. It reiterated that interpretation in an October report.

During his presidential campaign, President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE often claimed China deliberately undervalued their currency to gain a trade advantage. He has backed off those claims since taking office.

Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, also expressed concerns about the Trump administration's recently announced steel and aluminum tariffs.

While Republicans overwhelmingly opposed those tariffs, some have said they'd be open to more targeted measures against China.

Grassley said such tariffs would have to be imposed "cautiously," adding that he worries that China and other countries could retaliate by targeting agriculture products, which would adversely affect his home state.