U.S. to Press China, India on Freer Trade; Zoellick Addresses Senate Concern on Job Loss

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Byline: Jeffrey Sparshott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Bush administration this year is stepping up pressure on China and India to open their markets to U.S. goods and services, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick told a Senate panel yesterday.

The White House's top trade official laid out administration trade priorities and responded to concerns that blue- and white-collar jobs are increasingly shifting overseas because of rising foreign competition.

"Isolating America from the world is not the answer," Mr. Zoellick told the Senate Finance Committee in a defense of the administration's trade policies, echoing recent comments by President Bush and Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.

Since Mr. Bush took office in January 2001, the economy has shed 2.2 million jobs.

"Some of those jobs are moving overseas, and increasingly the jobs that are moving overseas are high-paying and higher-skilled jobs," Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, said at the hearing.

China is frequently a source of concern for lost factory jobs, and India for "offshoring," by which firms export back-office jobs to low-wage nations.

"I hear it from the press, from my colleagues in Congress and from constituents. Manufacturing plants moving to China. Call centers moving to India," Mr. Baucus said.

The debate has become especially intense, and an election-year topic, since N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said "outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past and that's a good thing."

Forrester Research, a technology research company, projected that 3.3 million U.S. service industry jobs would move offshore to countries like India, Russia, China and the Philippines by 2015. …