China continues to impede imports from U.S. producers of autos, steel, beef and copyrighted products such as books and DVDs, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.
While the Asian nation has made progress opening its markets to foreign competition, “some serious problems remain, such as China’s refusal to grant trading rights for certain industries,” according to the agency’s annual report to Congress on trade barriers, released today.
China, the world’s second-largest economy after the U.S., received the most-lengthy mention in the 406-page “National Trade Estimate” report.
President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking to bolster enforcement of commerce rules as it pursues two trade deals, one with 10 other Pacific region nations and another with the 27-nation European Union. Last year the administration created a unit led by USTR and Commerce Department officials to better police trade laws.
“We will maintain our vigorous efforts to ensure a level playing field for U.S. goods and services in markets around the world,” acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said today in a statement accompanying the report.
Since the beginning of 2012, the U.S. has filed complaints against China at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization over goods including autos and rare-earth elements. Trade tensions have risen between the two nations over government support for clean-energy programs. The U.S. trade deficit with China last year reached a record $315 billion, according to the Census Bureau.
The USTR today released two other reports covering health and regulatory trade barriers in China and other countries. The agency said U.S. negotiators in 2012 removed barriers to American beef in Japan, kept open China’s $1.3 billion market for fish and eased U.S. telecommunications exports to Israel, among other achievements.
Representatives Sander Levin of Michigan and Charles Rangel of New York on March 28 asked the administration to curb China’s alleged cyber theft of trade secrets from U.S. companies.
The lawmakers, senior Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, want the USTR to designate China as a top violator of intellectual property rights, which could lead to further trade restrictions. A USTR report on trade and intellectual property is scheduled to be released around April 30.
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