China-U.S. Trade Issues
U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past several
Total U.S.-China trade, which totaled only $5 billion in 1980, rose to $343
billion in 2006.
China is also now the 2
largest U.S. trading partner, its 2
source of U.S. imports, and its 4
largest export market.
With a huge population and
a rapidly expanding economy, China is a potentially huge market for U.S. exporters.
However, economic relations have become strained over a number of issues,
including China’s large and growing trade surpluses with the United States; its failure
to fully implement its World Trade Organization (WTO)commitments (especially in
regards to protection of intellectual property rights), its refusal to adopt a floating
currency system, its use of industrial policies and other practices deemed unfair
and/or harmful to various U.S. economic sectors, and its failure to halt exports of
unsafe food and consumer products to the United States.
The Bush Administration has come under increasing pressure from Congress to
take a more aggressive stance against various Chinese economic and trade practices.
It has recently filed a number of trade dispute resolution cases against China in the
WTO, including over China’s failure to protect IPR and afford market access for
IPR-related products, discriminatory regulations on imported auto parts, and
and export subsidies to various industries in China.
In addition, the Administration
recently reversed a long-standing policy that countervailing cases (dealing with
government subsidies) could not be brought against non-market economies (such as
China) when it brought against certain imported Chinese glossy paper products.
December 2006, the Administration began a “Strategic Economic Dialogue” (SED)
with China to discuss major long-term economic issues between the two countries;
the latest SED talks were held in May 2007.
In response to growing concerns in the
U.S. over the health, safety, and quality of certain Chinese products (such as seafood,
pet food, toothpaste, tires, and toys), the Administration announced in August 2007
that it has begun negotiations with Chinese officials to reach new agreements (by
December 2007) on the safety of food and feed and of drugs and medical devices.
Numerous bills have been introduced in Congress that would impact U.S.-China
H.R. 321, H.R. 782, H.R. 1002, H.R. 2942,
S. 796, S.
1607, and S. 1677 seek to address China’s currency policy.
U.S. imports of Chinese autos as long as Chinese tariffs on autos are higher than U.S.