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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Textiles, Piracy Top China Trade Talks

BEIJING -- Top American and Chinese trade officials began talks Monday on disputes over U.S. limits on Chinese textile imports and complaints that Beijing is failing to stop rampant product piracy.

The delegations were led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Vice Premier Wu Yi, China's top trade strategist.

Others attending the meeting included the U.S. agriculture secretary and the American trade representative.

China said Wu would press complaints about U.S. controls imposed to stop a surge in imports of low-priced Chinese textiles that Washington says are harming American producers ever since a worldwide textile quota system ended Jan. 1.

Washington has unilaterally capped growth in imports of Chinese textiles at 7.5 percent this year.

U.S. officials say they will use the one-day meeting to press for more aggressive Chinese enforcement of patents and copyrights.

They say widespread copying of movies, music and other goods by Chinese pirates costs legitimate producers billions of dollars a year in lost sales.

"China must do more to significantly reduce infringement levels by increasing criminal prosecutions," U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said in a statement released before the talks.

The officials were meeting as part of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, a 22-year-old body created to resolve U.S.-Chinese trade disputes. The two countries are among each others' top trading partners.

China last month imposed restrictions limiting growth of its textile exports to Europe to between 8 percent and 12.5 percent per year under an agreement with the European Union.

Beijing said the United States and the EU were to blame for the import surge because they failed to keep earlier promises to do away with market barriers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency said in a statement Monday that it would contribute about $1.4 million in a series of training programs aimed at opening China's market to genetically modified agricultural products, improving intellectual property protection and strengthening bank lending practices.

An additional $1.6 million in U.S. grant money will go to three projects covering civil aviation in the Yangtze River Delta area, coal gasification in the northern city of Shenyang and a feasibility study on developing a private petrochemical refinery off China's northeast coast, the statement said.