Budget Seeks Funds for Trade Unit

Obama to ask Congress for $26 mln for unit to investigate unfair trade practices.

U.S. President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $26 million and at least 50 people for a new panel to investigate unfair trade practices by nations including China, whose Vice President Xi Jinping is scheduled to arrive today for a U.S. visit.

The 2013 budget proposal Obama will submit to Congress today contains funds for an Interagency Trade Enforcement Center that would monitor and enforce trade agreements and laws, according to an administration official. Obama announced his intention to create the panel, which would include lawyers, researchers, analysts and agents supported by the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative, in his Jan. 24 State of the Union speech.

WTO Complaints

Obama filed five World Trade Organization complaints against China since taking office three years ago, compared with the seven that George W. Bush filed from 2001, when China joined the WTO, and the end of his term in 2009. The U.S. and China have clashed over access to each others’ markets for products including steel pipes, poultry, tires, movies and music.

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