Chinese Currency Revaluation Advised; Council Calls U.S. Visa Regulations Too Tough on Export Customers

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeffrey Sparshott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush's national advisory committee on international trade yesterday recommended that China take steps to revalue its currency and eliminate practices that curtail American exports, while chiding the U.S. government for its own visa policy that makes it difficult for Chinese customers to visit American suppliers.

"I hope this report will enable the administration and the president to continue to focus on China as really one of ... the most significant economic opportunities for America in history," said James C. Morgan, vice chairman of the President's Export Council and chief executive for Applied Materials, a Santa Clara, Calif., technology company.

China has been a fast-growing market for U.S. exporters, but record trade deficits and stiff competition from low-cost Chinese manufacturers have turned the Asian nation into the chief rival for many struggling companies.

The Bush administration has rejected calls from some Democrats, their allies in organized labor and besieged industries to attack China more actively through new trade barriers and lawsuits at the World Trade Organization.

The administration has responded to industry petitions, raising duties on Chinese furniture, shrimp, some apparel and other select products. But the president's trade team has focused on prying open China's markets through cooperation and negotiations.

The administration has made progress in some areas, including Chinese concessions on tax policy and technology standards, but has made less headway elsewhere.

The U.S. trade deficit with China reached $124.1 billion last year and was $68.5 billion through June, the Commerce Department said.

The export council report, discussed and adopted yesterday, urges the administration to pursue "a clear-eyed, close and continued collaboration between the United States and China" to resolve trade differences. …