China has unveiled a strong defence of its trade and intellectual property rights policies ahead of a high-level visit by US trade negotiators to Beijing this week that gives little ground on the central problems cited by Washington.

Although pledging to try to reduce the bilateral deficit, which according to US figures reached about $200bn in 2005, a Chinese government statement asserted that trade in goods was not a fair measure of the two countries' economic ties.

China's Commerce Ministry said on its website that China had taken effective measures to establish uniform legal and administrative rules to enforce intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.

"The achievements we have made are clear to anyone who looks," it said.

China has made a concerted effort to train judges to hear IPR infringements cases, a process that has seen a number of high-profile victories in the courts for foreign companies. Enforcements of judgments, however, still remain much more difficult.

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