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China to Increase Copyright Enforcement, Lift U.S. Beef Ban

The Bush administration said Tuesday that China has agreed to crack down on copyright piracy of American computer programs and lift a ban on U.S. beef as part of an effort to reduce a record $202 billion trade gap.

The announcement was one of several commitments China made during a high-level meeting designed to reduce trade tensions in advance of next week's U.S. visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman led the U.S. delegation at the annual meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. The Chinese side was led by Vice Premier Wu Yi.

The administration said that in the area of piracy, the Chinese agreed to require that computers use legal software and to step up enforcement of intellectual property rights. They also pledged to close Chinese optical disk plants that are producing pirated CDs and DVDs.

In addition, the Chinese continued a multibillion-dollar buying spree of American products with a scheduled signing of a commercial airliner deal with Boeing Corp. valued at $4.6 billion.

"Our message to China has been consistent and clear," Portman said at a joint news conference with the Chinese. "American exporters, workers, farmers and service providers deserve the same access that China has to our markets."