U.S. Trade Official to Press China on Copying

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Josette Shiner will press China to crack down on illegal copying of U.S. products and to open its market to more U.S. farm goods during a visit this week.

"America's manufacturers, entertainers, engineers and scientists continue to lead the world in innovation and creativity. It is absolutely critical that their legal rights to their inventions, brand names and product reputations are respected and protected by our trading partners," Shiner said in a statement.

The trip is Shiner's third to the region in the last five weeks and comes as the Bush administration is under pressure to trim the United States' huge trade deficit with China, which totaled a record $103 billion last year and is projected to hit $120 billion this year.

U.S. officials have identified intellectual property rights as an area where action could be taken against China at the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. trade representative's office said Shiner was leading two separate delegations to Beijing -- one focused specifically on copyright, patent and trademark issues and another on the overall trade relationship.

"We will be pressing the range of concerns we have with China's restrictions on our businesses' access to the China market," Shiner said. "China is already our sixth-largest export market, but we still have a long way to go before we can be confident that our manufacturers and farmers face a level playing field in China."

The U.S. has a variety of concerns with China's unpredictable and inconsistent treatment of American agricultural goods, including soybeans, cotton, wheat and other commodities.

From Reuters

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