China trade

US seeks to raise trade pressure on China

The US has raised the pressure on China to improve market access for foreign companies with the release of a highly critical report examining Beijing’s policies on the eve of bilateral trade talks in Washington, the FT reports. A package of Chinese policies aimed at encouraging local innovation are “expected to make it difficult for foreign companies to compete on a level playing field in China”, said the International Trade Commission, a US government agency, in a report released on Monday night just ahead of the annual meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. The ITC report is the first of two which, on the request from the US Senate, will attempt to measure the impact of intellectual property rights infringement in China and Chinese innovation policies on the US economy. If the second one, due next May, diagnoses sizeable damage to US companies and jobs, it could become the basis for US trade action against Beijing. The ITC also said US receipts of royalties and licence fees from exports to China suggested widespread infringement of intellectual property rights and market access problems. Meanwhile Reuters adds that a US energy department report is due to warn that the country faces potential disruption to its supply of rare earth metals unless it diversifies its sources. China currently controls 97 per cent of world trade in rare earth metals. In other US-China news, McDonald’s China chief executive said yesterday that the fastfood chain intends to double its number of restaurants in China to 2,000 by 2013, the news agency adds. The New York Times carries more discussion of the report.

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