(Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers plan to reintroduce China currency legislation that was overwhelmingly approved last year by the House of Representative but failed to become law, congressional aides said on Wednesday.
Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin is working with the original co-sponsors of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which cleared the House in September by a wide bipartisan margin of 348-79, they said.
Levin, Representative Tim Ryan and Representative Tim Murphy are expected to reintroduce the bill when the House returns in February from a congressional district work break.
The legislation clears the way for the Commerce Department to treat undervalued currency as a subsidy under U.S. trade law. That would allow companies, on a case-by-case basis, to seek higher countervailing duties against imports from China that compete with U.S. production.
Despite the strong House vote, the Senate failed to take up the measure and it died at the end of the year.
The bill faces tougher going in the House now that Republicans control the chamber. However, supporters remain hopeful Congress will act if China doesn't take steps to allow its currency to rise more quickly against the dollar.
Critics saying China's yuan is undervalued by 15 percent to 40 percent against the dollar, giving Chinese companies an unfair trade advantage.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Kenneth Barry)