Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told CNBC Monday that the US is not in a trade war with China but must enforce fair trade laws no matter the trading partner.
"We are very vigilant at Commerce in enforcing our trade agreements," said Locke. "It is unfair for America if another country is not following the rules we've agreed to." (see video for full interview)
Some economists have called for the US to get tougher with China when it comes to trade. Locke cited the ban on Chinese tires into the US as an example of aggressive enforcement.
"China was flooding the US market with cheaper tires and putting thousands of people out of work here and shutting down companies. Imposing those sanctions was the right thing to do," said Locke. "We were just enforcing the rules that had been set up and what China agreed to."
Other Chinese products currently under some bans include steel and poultry.
Locke also discussed the 2010 census and the $300 million campaign launched by the government Monday to get people involved.
The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department and Congress uses the count to distribute more than $400 billion each year in federal aid to state, local and tribal governments, Locke said.
"It's also important for businesses when it comes to knowing who lives where for marketing and expansion," said Locke.
The current 10-question form is one of the shortest in the history of the census. Residents will be asked the number of people living in each household as well as their age, race and whether they own their home or rent.