Manufacturing executives and members of U.S. Congress have been urging the Bush administration to toughen American trade policy toward China. On Feb. 14, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman outlined a 10-point program that he says will hold China more accountable.
"As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities, including opening markets and enforcing intellectual property rights," Portman said.
With U.S. support, China joined the World Trade Organization four years ago.
Among other actions, Portman's office is establishing a China Enforcement Task Force, boosting its data collection resources and adding an advisory group to provide strategic advice on U.S.-China trade policy. New emphasis will be given by the administration to regulatory reform in China, including additional attention to subsidy issues. And Portman also promises to strengthen interagency coordination within the Washington bureaucracy and to institute regular briefings for members of Congress and the staffs.
Notable by its absence from Portman's list was increased attention to China's alleged manipulation of its currency, the yuan, which many U.S. manufacturers contend puts them at a competitive disadvantage.