Switzerland and Vietnam have been named currency manipulators in the wake of questionable currency transactions, the United States said.
The United States has declared Switzerland and Vietnam currency manipulators for allegedly interfering in currency markets that caused disputes with the two trading partners.
The countries were named as such Wednesday in an annual U.S. Treasury Department report aimed at preventing countries from manipulating their currencies to achieve unfair trade advantages.
This is the first time the U.S. has branded another country as a currency manipulator since August 2019, when China was labeled during tense trade talks with the U.S.
Washington dropped that status in January after the two countries reached trade agreements, but Beijing’s yuan remained on the Treasury Department’s list of currencies it monitors.
The report said Switzerland and Vietnam were the only countries that met all three criteria for being labeled a currency manipulator, a move that will lead to negotiations next year. If agreements are not reached, the U.S. could impose economic sanctions on the two countries.
Other countries on the watch list are India, Italy, Korea, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.
This report is the last the Trump administration will produce, leaving it up to Treasury Secretary-elect Joe Biden to decide whether to keep the designations.
But a senior Treasury official said Biden’s nominee, Janet Yellen, has not yet been briefed on the appointments and that decisions are left to the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.
The report, which covers market activity from July 2019 to June 2020, was released during the coronavirus pandemic that has weakened the global economy this year and triggered volatility in currency markets.