U.S.: SCARVES FACE HIGH DUTIES IF CHINA DOESN’T HONOR PACT
Byline: Jim Ostroff
WASHINGTON — If the Clinton Administration should follow through on its latest threat to impose sanctions on Chinese imports, it could mean 100 percent tariffs — known as “killer duties” — on nearly $1 billion worth of shipments, with silk accessories, such as scarves, and some athletic footwear among the targeted products.
Charlene Barshefsky, the deputy U.S. Trade Representative, last week told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that China has done little to fulfill its February agreement with the U.S. to strictly enforce intellectual property rights. Barshefsky said U.S. firms likely will lose $866 million in sales this year due to illegal copying of such products as computer software, movies and compact discs by Chinese entrepreneurs, compared with about $1 billion in lost sales during 1994. The February pact ended a proposal for sanctions at that time.
She told the subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs the administration hopes to renew talks with Chinese trade officials this month and hinted at retaliatory tactics the U.S. would employ to get further Chinese concessions. Barshefsky said that unless such an agreement came before Feb. 26, the first anniversary of the China-U.S. pact to protect intellectual property, the administration could resurrect the plan to impose the 100 percent duties on the importation of about $1 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Since the U.S. only suspended implementation of these sanctions last February, it quickly could impose them, since public hearings on the plan already have been held. The February list of proposed sanctions covered about $1.08 billion in various types of goods, including $7 million in silk accessories and $50 million in athletic footwear.
Barshefsky also told the subcommittee that the U.S. would continue to oppose China’s admission to the World Trade Organization until the issue of intellectual property rights protections there is settled. — Fairchild News Service