The American Soybean Association (ASA) has joined ag and business groups in opposing a currency bill intended to pressure China to accelerate the appreciation of its currency against the dollar.

Fifty-one trade groups sent a letter last week to all Senate offices urging every Senator to oppose such a bill.

"Legislation that would increase tariffs on imports from China is unlikely to create any incentive for China to move expeditiously to modify its exchange policies," the letter stated. "Rather, it would likely have the opposite effect and result in retaliation against U.S. exports into China — currently the fastest-growing market for U.S. exports."

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have introduced a currency bill that is identical to legislation that passed the House last year that would make it easier for the Commerce Department to treat undervalued currency as a subsidy in countervailing duty investigations.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has proposed, but not introduced a broader bill, which would include the trade remedy aspects of the Brown-Snowe bill, but would also impose tougher action against countries determined by the Treasury Department to be undervaluing their currencies.

Reports indicate that Sen. Brown will likely try to move his currency bill as an amendment to a bill to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced he would likely move a China currency bill as a separate measure after the Senate votes on the GSP bill.

China is the largest foreign market for soybean products valued at over $11.2 billion in exports in 2010.