The United States recently completed a detailed review of its trade relations with China. In a letter to the U.S. Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman wrote that U.S. exports to China have increased for three consecutive years. Yet the U.S. trade relationship with China, he said, still "lacks equity, durability and balance, in the opportunities it provides."
"The time has come to readjust our trade policy with respect to China," Mr. Portman wrote. "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. We will use all options available to meet this challenge."
Two areas of particular concern are high Chinese tariffs imposed on American auto parts and widespread copyright piracy of American products in China. Without action in these areas, the United States could be forced to file unfair trade complaints with the World Trade Organization. President George W. Bush says that he has raised concerns about imbalances in U.S.-Chinese trade with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao:
"I've worked hard to make sure that my personal diplomacy is such that I'm able to make certain points with the Chinese. One such point is that, you know, treat us the way we treat you. You've got a trade imbalance with the United States. And if we don't get it under control, there could be a backlash here. And, therefore, we expect you to treat our products the same way we treat you."
The relationship between the United States and China, said President Bush, is "complex," with disagreements over trade and other issues. Still, said Mr. Bush, leaders of the two countries should maintain the kind of relationship in which they can speak to each other about these disagreements with candor.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.