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Bush presses Hu for trade concessions ahead of visit

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, Apr 13 (Reuters) President George W. Bush today ratcheted up pressure on Chinese President Hu Jintao to bring trade concessions to talks next week aimed at reducing China's huge trade surplus with the United States.

''We expect China to live up to its commitments,'' Bush told a small business conference.

Bush and Hu are to meet next Thursday at the White House.

Bush said China needs to enforce intellectual property rights, take additional steps to address the US-Chinese trade imbalance and ''China needs to move to a flexible, market-based currency.'' The United States has been pressing China to move to a fully floating exchange rate for a number of years.

Beijing has taken a modest step in that direction, but US manufacturers maintain the yuan remains seriously undervalued, giving Chinese companies an unfair trade advantage.

The Bush administration also has been mulling a World Trade Organization case against China for failing to adequately enforce laws protecting intellectual property rights, namely copyrights, patents and trademarks. American companies estimate they lose billions of dollars annually because of the theft.

US manufacturers hope Hu will announce that China is prepared to move more quickly to a fully flexible exchange rate. They contend China's yuan is undervalued by as much as 15 to 40 per cent, giving China an unfair advantage that contributes to a massive US trade deficit with China.

China promised on Tuesday to reduce trade friction with the United States by reopening its market to US beef, reducing piracy of American goods and beginning talks by end of next year to open its huge government procurement market to foreign firms.

REUTERS DKS HS2231

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