Administration Cites Unfair Trade Practices

The Bush administration cited 58 countries and three trading areas on Wednesday for erecting significant trade barriers (search) that harm U.S. manufacturers and farmers.

The massive 672-page report, required by Congress, is designed to guide administration negotiators over the next year in their efforts to attack trade barriers deemed to cause the most harm to U.S. companies.

If direct talks do not produce results, the administration can bring cases against the country before the World Trade Organization (search) to deal with trade barriers the United States believes are a violation of WTO rules.

The United States, which had a record trade deficit of $617 billion last year, ran up an imbalance of $162 billion just with China, the largest deficit ever recorded with a single country.

The report provides details of areas where the administration contends the Chinese are not living up to the market-opening promises they made to join the World Trade Organization in late 2001. It said China was failing to enforce its laws against the theft of American movies, computer software and other intellectual property.

The 25-nation European Union was singled out for 49 pages of criticism and the report devoted 45 pages to detailing Japan's trade barriers to U.S. goods, services and investment.

In addition to the European Union, the other trading areas cited in the report were the Arab League and the Southern African Customs Union (search).