President Bush’s choice as his new trade representative says he will conduct a top to bottom
review of the government’s trade policies with China, as he believes China does not always play by
the rules. Promising to pursue an aggressive trade agenda, Rob Portman told members of the Senate
Finance Committee considering his nomination he plans to consider a fresh perspective on the entire
range of enforcement tools available. There was no specific mention of textile issues during the
hearing except that Portman referred to the fact that the administration had self-initiated some
safeguard petitions to address a surge in Chinese imports.
Portman said he plans to travel to Asia soon to deliver a strong message in person to Chinese
trade officials. While Portman, a seven-term member of Congress from Ohio, was given a generally
warm reception, committee members expressed their concern over the administration’s failure to
enforce trade agreements. Portman said it is his intention to aggressively enforce trade agreements
and seek more overseas market opportunities for US goods.