US wants to expand trade with China

Agence France Presse

Hong Kong, January 10:

The United States said today it wanted to expand trade with China but promised to ‘eliminate’ any ‘distortions’ from Chinese markets following the expiry of a global textile agreement on import quotas.

“China’s exports to the United States and the US’ exports to China have grown very significantly. China is a very open market, we want to continue to expand that relationship,” US commerce undersecretary Grant Aldonas said. “We need to foster that while eliminating the potential points of friction,” Aldonas said at a discussion with the media on US trade issues in Asia.

The US Court of International Trade earlier froze efforts to limit Chinese textile imports into the United States on the day the global trade rules expired on January 1. An injunction issued by a special US trade court stopped the US administration from following up petitions from

the American textile industry, which fears a likely flood of ‘Made in China’ garments into the country. Aldonas expected an increase of exports from China to the US, but did not anticipate a dramatic surge of goods from China immediately. He said the US would ensure no ‘distortions’ from Chinese garment markets.

“I am much more interested in trying to ensure that if there are distortions in the Chinese markets, that we pursue elimination in those distortions,” he said.

The 1974 Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) had set up national quotas on textile imports which ensured that smaller textile exporters were protected. The expiry of the agreement on January 1 is expected to allow a wave of textile exports from low-cost producers such as China into developed markets such as the US, at the expense of smaller developing countries and the domestic industry.

According to World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession arrangements, a WTO member could carry on limiting Chinese textile imports if they caused ‘market disruptions’ or threatened to impede ‘the orderly development of trade.’

‘Penalty’ sought

WASHINGTON: US president George W Bush’s administration wants China to crack down on the rampant piracy of US movies, music and computer programmes and will not be satisfied until copyright violators get stiff prison sentences, commerce secretary Donald Evans said.

Evans, who today was leaving on his fourth and final trip to China as a member of Bush’s Cabinet, said that he wanted to learn firsthand what China was doing to fulfill promises to better enforce its intellectual property laws.— AP