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James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

US Official Seeks Trade Concessions From China

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

On his final trip to China before leaving office, US Commerce Secretary Don Evans urged the Beijing government to take a number of steps to improve its trade relations with the United States. He particularly emphasize the need for China to float its currency, which many US manufacturers, including textiles, see as an unfair trade advantage for its exports - undercutting US prices and closing out exports from other countries.

Evans called for free flow of capital, free trade, market-driven and market-determined exchange rates.

Evans also said he did not think the Chinese government's plan to impose duties on its textile and apparel exports would do much good as the proposed levies of 3 to 8 cents on the value of products is too small.

"I just dont think the steps of putting a few cents tax on exports or a few of the other steps discussed are going to have any meaningful impact," Evans said.

China has said it will impose export duties on 148 categories of textile products in a step to offset the impact of the removal of import quotas by members of the World Trade Organization.

January 2005