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US launches new task force on China trade
(AP/China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-15 11:15

The Bush administration declared Tuesday that the United States has entered a new phase in its economic relationship with China and promised "rigorous enforcement" of laws aimed at curbing what the China's critics see as "unfair" trade practices.

The pledge was contained in a 29-page administration review of America's economic relationship with China that was released four days after the government reported that the United States recorded a $202 billion trade deficit with China last year. That's the highest ever recorded with a single country and up 25 percent from 2004.

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, whose office prepared the new review, said the administration intended to use "all options available" to address various problems with China.

"Our U.S.-China trade relationship lacks equity, durability and balance," Portman said at a news conference. "As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities."

Portman announced creation of a trade enforcement task force in his office that will be headed by a chief counsel for China trade, a new position.

He called it unprecedented for the USTR to devote an enforcement team to a single country. He said previous administrations had not done this when the United States was running huge trade deficits in the 1980s and 1990s with Japan.

Portman said the administration intended to focus on the situation of China's intellectual property. It also will focus on China's committments made in joining the WTO and halting various government subsidies to Chinese companies.

Portman said the administration would discuss its new initiatives at an April 11 meeting in Washington with top Chinese economic officials.

China tells US not to politicize the issue

Chu Mao-ming, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said he could not comment directly on the new report because he had not yet seen it. But he said China did not want to "politicize trade issues. We hope that trade relations between China and the United States will be conducted under the principals of development, equality and mutual benefit."

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