Sens. Josh Hawley and Tammy Baldwin

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin have introduced the Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act.

The product, made by St. Joseph workers in a St. Joseph plant, heads into the global marketplace. But the country on the receiving end has kept its exchange rate artificially low while inflating the value of the U.S. dollar.

In short, the St. Joseph product trades at a disadvantage.

Such is the world of currency manipulation, economic misconduct that Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley would like to address.

Hawley, a Republican, joined with Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin this week in introducing legislation that would place a “market access charge” on foreign purchases of American securities and other assets, forestalling the currency revaluations.

Such purchases by other countries of stocks and bonds, for example, overvalue the dollar, lead to market inequities and cause trade deficits.

Products affected include Missouri agricultural goods.

“Our farmers in our state outcompete everybody else in the world,” Hawley told News-PressNOW.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for our farmers to constantly have their goods, their commodities, priced out of the market many times because of the interference of foreign countries, and this bill is aimed to help stop that.”

The legislation is called the Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act. It has gained the support of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a group consisting of manufacturers, labor organizations, farmers and ranchers.

Like Missouri, Wisconsin has an economy that depends on the export of manufactured and agricultural goods.

“For years, foreign actors like China have manipulated their currency, making American exports more expensive and Chinese imports cheaper, forcing our manufacturers and farmers to compete at a disadvantage and blowing up our trade deficit,” Baldwin said.

“Foreign investors have driven up the American dollar, helping Wall Street profit but holding back stronger economic growth.”

Hawley said currency manipulation has been an item of interest for President Donald Trump.

“It’s time to get some new tools on the table,” the Missouri lawmaker said. “The president’s trying to go after this. He’s right to do so.”

Ken Newton can be reached at ken.newton@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPNewton.