Chinese tax rebates to domestic companies, weak copyright protection and idiosyncratic standards governing wireless computer networking pose obstacles to U.S. exports and may violate global agreements, the U.S. said.
In its annual report on trade barriers, the Bush administration said China is using these non-tariff barriers to protect its own companies at the expense of U.S. chipmakers such as Intel Corp. and delivery companies such as Federal Express Corp. Those wireless communication rules violate Chinese commitments to the World Trade Organization, the U.S. said.
The U.S. will “see they live up to obligations” under WTO rules, Treasury Secretary John Snow told reporters today in Albuquerque, New Mexico when asked about China.
The Bush administration is using this report to highlight what it says it is doing to crack down on unfair trade practices. Democrats, including presidential candidate John Kerry, say the White House hasn’t done enough to protect U.S. jobs from surging imports.
The administration in “2001, 2002, and 2003 reports carefully documented these problems, but has taken no action to redress or eliminate them,” 13 Democratic lawmakers said in a letter to President George W. Bush today. The Democrats cited eight problems, including China’s wireless standards, which warrant complaints to the WTO, which arbitrates global trade.
The U.S. had a record $124 billion trade deficit with China last year. Manufacturers say the U.S. has lost 2.9 million factory jobs since Bush came to office in January 2001 and the trade gap is one reason why.
“China has emerged within a short span of two decades as a strong international competitor in a wide range of manufactured products,” William Primosch, director of international business at the National Association of Manufacturers, told a congressional panel yesterday.