updated 2/15/2006 2:37:09 PM ET 2006-02-15T19:37:09

The Bush administration on Tuesday announced it will step up enforcement of U.S. trade laws governing China, following a top-to-bottom review of America’s trading relationship with the Asian giant.

The increased enforcement will be led by a new chief counsel for China trade enforcement within the office of U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.

Portman announced a number of steps during a news conference in which he released a 29-page report detailing the findings of a six-month review of America’s economic relationship with China.

“The time has come to readjust our trade policy with respect to China,” Portman said. “As a mature trading partner, China should be held accountable for its actions and required to live up to its responsibilities, including opening markets and enforcing intellectual property rights.”

Portman vowed to “use all options available” to meet this goal.

The administration’s announcement followed news last Friday that America’s trade deficit with China rose to $201.6 billion, the largest deficit the United States has ever incurred with a single country.

This soaring trade deficit has increased pressure on the administration from lawmakers who want to see a tough crackdown on what they believe are unfair trading practices by China, such as manipulating its currency and copyright piracy.


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