By  on September 20, 2005

WASHINGTON — As the Bush administration's new trade maestro for China, former General Motors Corp. executive Tim Stratford will have to tackle everything from surging imports to intellectual property rights enforcement.

Stratford was named on Friday as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs and will oversee trade policy for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Mongolia. He takes over from Charles Freeman 3rd, who left last month and joined China Alliance, a law group.

Stratford brings with him a wealth of experience, having been general council for GM's China operations since 1998, and before that, a partner at Coudert Bros., an international law firm. He was also a volunteer leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Taiwan and minister counselor for commercial affairs at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

"He brings the on-the-ground knowledge that will be crucial at this critical time in our relationship with China," U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said in a statement.

Stratford will relocate to Washington from Shanghai.

U.S.-Sino relations have been a bit rocky lately when it comes to apparel and textiles. American and Chinese negotiators will meet for the fifth time Sept. 26-27 to try to hash out a plan to control imports of those products from China.

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