U.S. Report Cites Broad Range Of Trade Barriers

By Agence France-Presse The United States voiced concern April 1 over a broad array of global trade obstacles, from restrictions on beef to China's effort to impose a new wireless chip standard. The 500-plus-page report issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative covered a laundry list of issues with 58 major U.S. trading partners. It is a prelude to another report to be issued within a month singling out specific countries and issues that could prompt U.S. retaliation. "The United States benefits from being a relatively open economy, but American workers, exporters, farmers and businesses continue to face barriers for our world-class goods and services," said Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. "Day in and day out, all around the world, the U.S. government is working aggressively to make sure barriers to U.S. goods and services are removed." For the European Union, the report cited a long history of government support for the Airbus civil aviation consortium. China, the report said, tried to shelter weak industries from foreign competitors, and its bureaucrats apparently could not resist interfering in the market economy. "Despite its remarkable transformation over the past quarter century, China continues to suffer from its command economy legacy," Washington charged. This, it said, was impeding the penetration of U.S. firms into China. Japan also figured prominently in the report, which cited protection of dominant telecommunications carriers, failure to crack down on bid-rigging cartels, lack of competition from foreign rice and unscientific requirements on foreign foods. The report cited Canada for long-running disputes over dairy products, softwood and wheat; India for tariffs "among the highest in the world"; and South Korea for quotas and tariffs, as well as exclusionary policies for some high-technology items. While some of these issues end up before the World Trade Organization, U.S. officials said it is preferable to achieve a negotiated solution. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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