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2017-02-13 — latimes.com

Once confirmed, he would face a packed agenda. A wealthy hedge fund manager and Hollywood movie producer, Mnuchin would be a key administration player on boosting economic growth. He would take office with some key looming deadlines, including a need to increase the debt limit next month and to decide by April 15 whether to label China a currency manipulator and possibly trigger a trade war.

"Under any objective standard, Mr. Mnuchin has ample experience, credentials and qualifications for this important position," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday, decrying what he called "continual and pointless delays" of his confirmation by Democrats.

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By March 17, Mnuchin would need to persuade Congress to increase the nation's debt limit. If he can't, he would have to start using a series of so-called extraordinary measures to extend the deadline for several weeks to avoid a U.S. default on its debt.

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On the same day, he'd be scheduled to begin two days of meetings in Germany with finance ministers of the world's advanced economies at a G20 summit, amid a rocky start for Trump on international relations.

By April 15, Mnuchin would face a statutory deadline to inform Congress if the Treasury Department will label China a currency manipulator.

Trump promised during his campaign to direct his Treasury secretary to take that step, which would trigger negotiations to resolve the matter. If those talks fail, the U.S. could levy sanctions that might lead to a trade war.

Keeping currency exchange rates artificially low makes a country's products cheaper to buy abroad, boosting exports. China has faced allegations of manipulations in the past, but since 2014, financial markets have been pushing down the value of its currency and China has been trying to intervene to keep the value up.

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And by the first week of June, Mnuchin would have to report to the White House about changes needed to financial regulations under an executive order Trump signed Feb. 3. The order directed the Treasury secretary to consult with regulators and review the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Trump has pledged to dismantle.

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