Revoke China's Trade Status Says U.S. Lawmaker

Goal is to lower U.S. duties to the level enjoyed by other key partners

Amid deep, election-year anger at China, Democratic Representative Brad Sherman has introduced a bill aimed at stripping Beijing of a special trade status given to key partners and overhauling the two powers' commercial ties.

Sherman's proposal, unveiled on August 4, calls for revoking China's "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) standing, which lowers U.S. duties on its goods to the level enjoyed by other key partners.

"The U.S.-China trade relationship is horrendously lopsided, and it has not lived up to the promises of those who encouraged us to give preferential trade treatment to China," he said.

The legislation calls for revoking China's PNTR six months after enactment and "until the president establishes a more level playing field" aimed at wiping out the U.S. trade deficit with China in four years, he said.

Prospects for passage in the House and Senate were unclear despite mounting calls to punish China for alleged currency manipulation that makes its exports cheaper and for rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property.

The US Congress voted to extend PNTR to China in late 2000.

Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China rose to $227 billion, fueling demands by the U.S. government and businesses that Beijing allow its currency to rise in order to help reduce the imbalance.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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