The U.S. may be forced to reassess its trade relations with China due to continuing Chinese counterfeiting, piracy and other barriers to U.S. businesses, says Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. In the latest of a series of escalating U.S. warnings to China about its failure to protect intellectual property rights, Gutierrez told an Asia trade group that U.S.-Chinese trade relations are at an historic moment. “We can either go forward, creating prosperity for both countries, or we can drift backwards,” he said. Gutierrez appeared to suggest that China’s failure to deal forcefully with product piracy and other intellectual property rights problems could ultimately confront China’s leaders with social unrest. A decline in U.S.-China trade relations, he warned, “will put at risk social harmony and expanded prosperity in China.” He also cautioned China about growing impatience among many on Capitol Hill. “I wouldn’t be giving you a candid assessment without mentioning our growing concern about the rising level of trade tension on Capitol Hill” over Chinese intellectual property rights issues and continuing Chinese barriers to U.S. trade.