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U.S. Warns China on Trade Issues

June 05, 2005|From Associated Press

BEIJING — U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez warned China on Saturday that its mounting trade surplus, surging textile exports and rampant product piracy could fuel opposition in the United States to free trade.

Gutierrez was on his first visit to Beijing amid a storm of Chinese criticism over U.S. textile quotas.

"Respectfully, I don't believe that there is full appreciation in China for the level of political pressure that we face with respect to our relationship," Gutierrez told his Chinese counterpart, Bo Xilai, as they started an official meeting.

Bo hinted at the tensions, saying there were "some points of debate" between the two governments. However, he insisted that "only on the basis of mutual benefit can we make our trade ... relationship bigger."

The United States and the European Union imposed controls after imports of low-priced Chinese textiles soared after a worldwide quota system ended Jan. 1.

China exported $10 billion worth of clothing to the United States in 2004, a figure Washington says will rise this year.

In a meeting later Saturday, Vice Premier Wu Yi chided Gutierrez, saying, "You believe that trade must be fair, but you impose restrictions on textile imports from China."

Gutierrez said Friday that he would press China for proof that it is taking action to stop product piracy.

He said companies have told him they have not seen much change despite Chinese promises to put an end to the illicit trade, which they say costs them billions of dollars a year.

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