BEIJING, Apr 11 (Reuters) U.S. curbs on high-technology exports to China are the main reason for China's growing trade surplus with the United States, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said on Tuesday.
Asked whether China's campaign to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) would help narrow the imbalance in two-way trade, Bo told reporters: ''Instead of saying the cause is China's IPR problems, it is in fact U.S. curbs on high-tech exports that affect the trade imbalance between China and the U.S.'' ''Even though the IPR issue is not the main cause, the Chinese government attaches great importance to IPR protection,'' he added.
Bo said U.S. technology exports to China had been growing only half as fast as the European Union's, which in turn were slower than those of Japan.
China's trade surplus last year came to 2 billion.
But Bo said that if exports from foreign-owned firms were stripped out, the surplus had been about billion to billion.
Foreign firms generated 58 percent of Chinese exports last year, he added.
REUTERS CS PM1451