( Reuters ) - Trade Representative Susan Schwab on Tuesday warned of a growing threat to U.S.-China trade relations because of protectionist impulses in both countries.
"In both our countries, there are forces that would have us close our doors to the other -- potentially in contravention of our international obligations, and certainly against our best interests," Schwab said in a speech at the George H.W Bush China- U.S. Relations Conference.
"This would, in my judgment, be an enormous mistake," Schwab said.
Schwab criticized China for subsidizing its industry in violation of World Trade Organization rules, imposing other barriers to U.S. exports and not playing a more constructive role to bring world trade talks to a successful conclusion.
She urged China to follow India's example and "unambiguously commit" to a compromise plan in the WTO talks that the United States expects will require advanced developing countries to open their markets to more foreign goods.
But she also said China had become the "poster child" for rising protectionist sentiment in Congress and urged lawmakers not to be swayed by "snake-oil salesmen peddling Dobbsian -- I mean Hobbsian -- choices and selling quick-fix schemes for addressing complex international economic challenges."
The remark was a swipe at CNN news anchor and free-trade critic Lou Dobbs, as well as proposals in Congress aimed at slapping retaliatory tariffs on China.