Outgoing US Commerce Secretary Don Evans begins a visit to China Tuesday, marking his last days in office with a renewed effort to push Beijing to toughen protection of intellectual property rights. Speaking before his departure, Evans said that while the Bush administration welcomed recent Chinese moves to lower the threshold for prison terms, those actions still didn't go far enough. "China must forcefully do more to lift barriers to free trade and confront widespread intellectual property theft that is undercutting American workers," he said. According to the US Commerce Department, IPR issues are the biggest problem in its US$181bn commercial relationship with China. Carlos M. Gutierrez, who has been nominated to replace Evans, pointed to the importance of intellectual property protection during recent Senate confirmation hearings.