- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

CHONGQING, China (AP) — Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez yesterday called on China to open its markets to foreign goods and settle currency disputes, warning it could face protectionist sentiment in the United States if its record trade surplus keeps growing.

Mr. Gutierrez visited this industrial center in China’s southwest en route to Beijing for talks ahead of a potential Senate vote this week on proposed sanctions to punish China for manipulating its currency.

In a speech to university students, Mr. Gutierrez said the U.S. government wants China to give foreign competitors the same market access that its companies enjoy abroad, to adopt a more flexible currency and to stop piracy of intellectual property.

“The trade deficit worries people, and we don’t want it to become so big that what happens is that people who want to isolate the U.S. and who want to be protectionist may find a welcoming ear in the American people,” Mr. Gutierrez said in the speech at Chongqing University.

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