China says it will work with the United States to stop product piracy and promote market access. The issue of patent, copyright, and trademark theft is a particular sore point in trade relations between the two countries.
China pledged to cooperate on trade as Commerce Secretary Don Evans began a visit to China. His agenda includes attending a China-U.S. roundtable discussion on intellectual property rights.
In comments before the visit, Secretary Evans said he would press China to do more to stop the flow of pirated goods, which officials say cost U.S. companies nearly $3 billion a year.
At a regular briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan said the roundtable shows Beijing is serious about addressing the issue, often referred to as I.P.R.
"This in fact amply proves that China has continuously strengthened the protection of intellectual property rights. Because, China firmly believes that this course of action not only conforms to China's and other countries' fundamental I.P.R. protection requirements, but is also to China's benefit," he said. "It is also a fundamental requirement of China's economic development."
China's high court last month toughened penalties for those who make unauthorized copies of products ranging from brand-name clothing and pharmaceuticals to car and airplane parts.
But Mr. Evans has said Washington does not believe Beijing has gone far enough. He said he would press the Chinese to abide by commitments they made last April, when Beijing promised to crack down on I.P.R. violators.
Secretary Evans is due to step down shortly, but his expected successor, Carlos Gutierrez, has cited intellectual property protection as a key issue in U.S. trade ties with China.