Gutierrez, Portman to Press China to Ease Trade Gap

May 30 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Trade Representative Rob Portman are likely to press China to revalue the yuan and do more to combat product piracy to curb the swelling trade deficit during talks this week with Chinese counterparts, analysts and officials said.

Protection of intellectual property rights including for software, film and music products will top the agenda when he arrives in China on June 2, Gutierrez said in an interview. Portman will meet Commerce Minister Bo Xilai at a separate gathering of trade ministers on Korea’s Jeju island, and may travel to Beijing the following week, officials said.

“It’s difficult to imagine China will give any ground while the Americans are in Beijing,” said Huang Yiping, a Hong Kong- based economist with Citigroup Inc., and a former Chinese government economist. “While they may indicate privately what they will do on the yuan, they aren’t likely” to make any public statement this week, he said.

The Bush administration is under increasing pressure from Congress to curb the country’s trade deficit with China, which totaled $162 billion in 2004 and expanded at a rate of almost 40 percent in the first quarter of this year. A surge in textile imports from China has already prompted the U.S. and the European Union to begin imposing trade restrictions, an issue likely to be debated during this week’s meetings.

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