US warns China over mounting trade surplus

Associated Press

Beijing, June 4:

The US commerce secretary warned China today of a potential political backlash in Washington amid tensions over mounting Chinese trade surpluses, surging textile exports and rampant product piracy. “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,” Carlos Gutierrez told his Chinese counterpart, Bo Xilai, as they started an official meeting. Gutierrez was on his first visit to Beijing amid a storm of Chinese criticism over US textile quotas. He said he planned to press China to end rampant copying of movies, music and other goods. He warned this week that China had to take action on meeting commitments to open its markets or risk fueling opposition in the United States to free trade. 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 and economic relationship bigger.’ Details of the rest of their talks weren’t immediately released.

In a meeting today, vice-premier Wu Yi chided Gutierrez over Washington’s position,

saying, “You believe that trade must be fair, but you impose restrictions on textile imports from China.” Gutierrez yesterday said 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 that they say costs them billions of dollars a year in lost potential sales.