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Trade deals in China

Marketplace Staff Nov 13, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is in Beijing today trying to do what he can to lower the record U.S. trade deficit with China. He celebrated a couple of new business deals. And he said he hopes to lower trade barriers so Americans can clinch even more of them. Marketplace’s Hillary Wicai has the story.

HILLARY WICAI: Gutierrez spent the first part of the trip watching Motorola sign a deal to ship more than $1.5 billion worth of mobile phones to China.

From there he presided at a ceremony where 20th Century Fox’s home entertainment division announced plans to distribute moderately priced DVDs, an attempt to lure Chinese consumers away from cheap counterfeits.

Kimberly Elliott is with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. She says exports to China are up, but not enough, and trips like this are meant to buy time.

KIMBERLY ELLIOTT:“Partly they are symbolic, to show that, in fact, U.S. exports to China are increasing, that the U.S. can successfully export. The second, frankly, is that you are helping out some of your buddies in the corporate community.”

But time may not be on the Administration’s side. The trade deficit to China is projected to rise another 12% to $228 billion this year, and Democrats are expected to put more pressure on the Bush administration.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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