WASHINGTON - A top Republican lawmaker Wednesday said he intended to turn up the pressure on China over a long list of trade "abuses" after Congress returns from its upcoming August recess.
"China ... flagrantly disregards its international obligations and seeks to impede fair commerce at every opportunity," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said in the prepared text of a speech.
"China blatantly steals the intellectual property of American businesses and grossly subsidizes domestic industries -- and its list of trade abuses goes on and on," Camp said in the remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Camp, who got the top spot on the powerful Ways and Means Committee after Republicans won control of the House in last November's election, said past U.S. efforts to get tough on China have focused too much on Beijing's currency practices when there are "far larger" concerns.
He promised the Ways and Means Committee would "begin looking more aggressively at China's abuses."
At the same time, Camp criticized the White House for delaying work on a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China because administration officials "can't decide how to treat labor issues" that would arise in the talks.
The administration of former President George W. Bush began negotiations with China on a BIT, but those have been on hold since shortly after Obama took office in January 2009 to review concerns raised by the AFL-CIO labor federation and other groups who criticized Bush's approach.
As a result, "we are sitting on the sidelines while our trading partners are aggressively moving forward," Camp said.
Many have already signed investment agreements with China that give their investors more rights in China than U.S. investors have while others like the European Union have announced plans to begin talks with Beijing, he said.
Camp also criticized Obama for failing to submit three long-delayed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress for votes. Those already signed deals also have been pending since the Bush administration.
He accused Obama of imposing "constantly shifting demands" on Republicans in regards to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a federal program to help workers who have lost their job because of foreign competition.
"We have attempted to meet those demands. We have done our work, and we are ready, but the president is not," he said.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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