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환율전쟁에 뛰어든 트럼프…美, 환율 감시대상국 늘리고 조작국 지정 기준 낮춰

미국 재무부가 싱가포르, 말레이시아, 베트남을 환율 감시대상국 명단에 추가했다.
미국이 환율조작국 지정 기준을 완화했다. (사진: 아이스톡)
국이 28일(현지시간) 환율 감시대상국을 21개국으로 늘리면서 전방위 환율압박에 착수했다. 중국과 무역전쟁을 벌이면서 환율전쟁에도 본격적으로 뛰어들겠다는 의도를 드러낸 것으로 해석 가능하다.  

 

이날 미국 재무부는 싱가포르, 말레이시아, 베트남을 환율 감시대상국 명단에 추가했다. 한-중-일 3개국은 환율 감시대상국으로 유지했다.

이로써 환율 감시대상국은 기존 12개에서 21개로 늘었다. 재무부는 환율 평가 대상국을 미국의 12대 교역국에서 대미 수출입 규모가 400억달러(약 47조6,500억원) 이상인 국가로 변경했다. 환율조작국 지정 기준도 대미 무역흑자가 200억달러를 넘고, 국내총생산(GDP)의 2%를 초과하는 경상수지 흑자를 내고, GDP의 2%를 넘는 외환을 12개월 중 6개월 이상 순매수하는 시장 개입을 단행하는 국가로 바꿨다. 경상수지 흑자 요건은 기존 3%에서 2%로, 외환 순매수 기간은 8개월에서 6개월로 각각 변경했다. 즉, 환율조작국 지정 기준을 완화함으로써 조작국 지정을 쉽게 할 수 있게 만들었다.

재무부의 이번 결정은 미·중 무역분쟁이 ‘환율전쟁’으로 번지고 있는 가운데 교역국에 대한 압박 수위를 한층 높인 것으로 해석할 수 있다. 하지만 무역전쟁으로 인해 중국뿐만 아니라 한국, 인도네시아, 인도 등 다른 아시아 국가들의 경제도 타격을 입고 있는 가운데 나온 결정이라 글로벌 경제에는 부정적일 수밖에 없다.

위선적인 미국 

무역전쟁을 벌이고 있는 중국과 비교해보면 미국의 위선이 오히려 숨이 막힐 지경임을 알 수 있다.

트럼프 대통령은 지난 2년간 시 주석보다 달러화 약세를 위해 더 노력해왔다. 위안화는 2016년 11월 트럼프 대통령의 당선 이후 중국 경제가 성장 모멘텀을 상당히 잃었음에도 사실상 거의 가치가 변하지 않았다. 또 일본은행이 간 길을 가지 않았다는 이유로 자넷 옐렌 전 연방준비제도이사회 의장을 사실상 해임한 트럼프 대통령과 달리 시 주석은 중국인민은행에게 위안화 가치 평가절하를 압박하지 않았다. 솔직히 말해서, 시 주석으로선 미국이 중국보다 환율을 더 많이 조작하고 있다고도 볼 여지가 충분히 있다.

그런데 예를 들어 인도네시아처럼 경제 규모가 크지 않은 나라가 일방적인 통화 평가절하로 이웃국에게 피해를 주는 소위 ‘근린 궁핍화 정책’( beggar-thy-neighbor)을 썼을 때와 세계 최대 경제국인 미국이 그런 정책을 썼을 때 주는 충격에는 상당한 차이가 있다.

그나마 다행인 건, 미국 재무부가 중국을 포함한 주요 아시아 국가들을 공식적으로 환율조작국으로 지정하지는 않았다는 사실이다. 하지만 앞으로 몇 달 내에 그렇게 하지 않을 가능성을 완전히 배제할 수도 없다.

달러 약세가 향후 미국 경제에 도움을 줄 수도 있겠지만, 그것이 혁신과 생산성을 높이지는 못한다. 아울러 무너지는 미국의 기반시설을 업그레이드해주지도 못한다. 그리고 그것은 미국이 차입을 중단하도록 만들지도 않을 것이다.

트럼프 대통령이 무역전쟁 외에 환율전쟁까지 벌인다면 결국 모두가 피해를 볼 뿐이다.

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