Washington: Concerned over the Chinese efforts to discriminate against American companies and workers, two prominent US Senators have appealed to the Obama Administration to ask China to follow rules and not impose “illegal” and "unfair" trade policy.

"These new regulations appear to represent another attempt to illegally gain an unfair advantage over US automobile industry that will cost our country jobs," said Senators Stabenow and Levin.

In a letter to the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin said China has drafted new regulations that, if implemented, would give its companies an unfair trade advantage by shutting out American automakers from the Chinese.

"The United States must respond strongly to stand up for American businesses and working families," they said.

In its latest National Trade Estimate (NTE), USTR had highlighted a new Chinese trade barrier that is designed to prevent US automakers from accessing the Chinese market.

According to the NTE, China is in the process of drafting new regulations as part of its New Energy Vehicles (NEV) plan, which seeks to advance hybrid and battery electric vehicle production in China.

USTR reported that draft regulations associated with the NEV would require automakers that want to manufacture electric vehicles in China to develop a "mastery level" of proficiency in vehicle parts, such as batteries, motors, and control systems.

Furthermore, according to USTR, China is planning to require that foreign automakers enter into joint ventures with a Chinese manufacturer and may mandate the transfer of intellectual property rights for key NEV technologies to a Chinese company.

In contrast, the United States opens its doors to non-US companies without such restrictions. Our home state of Michigan has over a thousand foreign companies who do business here.

"To sell in our market, US does not require the transfer of these companies’ intellectual property to US firms. We must insist that China play by the same rules," the Senators said.

Levin and Stabenow expressed concern that these draft regulations continue China’s long history of breaking international trade rules.