The U.S. Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, says widespread intellectual property piracy in China is undermining support for expanding trade with the United States.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Tuesday that China's intellectual property violations were encouraging protectionist voices in the U.S.
"Those who espouse protectionism, those who would like to see protectionist policies put in place as a legitimate economic policy, have a very loud voice," he said. "And they cite specific imbalances, and they point to a lack of a robust intellectual property protection in China, as a top reason why we should put protectionist policies in place."
Speaking to a group of business executives in Beijing, Gutierrez said U.S. Customs this year has made over 14,000 seizures of pirated goods worth more than $156 million.
Despite some improvements in policing the issue, he said, the U.S. confiscates more pirated goods from China than from all other countries combined.
He repeated a call U.S. officials have made many times in recent years, for the Chinese government to crack down harder on manufacturers and sellers of pirated goods, some of which are a danger to public health and safety.
Gutierrez also said China should allow more market access for foreign audiovisual products. He said barriers to entry into the Chinese market were creating a haven for those who pirate products such as DVDs and CDs.
The U.S. is running a politically sensitive trade deficit with China that is expected this year to surpass last year's record of $202 billion.
Gutierrez said the two sides are agreed that encouraging more U.S. imports into China was the best way to close the trade gap.
Washington has warned it may make a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization if China does not clean up its piracy problems. Gutierrez said Tuesday that a formal complaint was always an option, but said the U.S. would not go the WTO until all other options were exhausted.