WASHINGTON (AFP) - US lawmakers with broad powers over trade urged top officials in a letter Friday to ensure that upcoming economic talks with China increase markets for US goods and safeguard US intellectual property. More than 30 members of the House Ways and Means Committee signed the appeal to US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk ahead of a US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting on December 15. For too long, Chinas commitments have failed to lead to commercially meaningful market access for US companies, said the group, led by Democratic Representative Sander Levin, the panels chairman, and its top Republican, Representative Dave Camp. In particular, we urge you to secure robust commitments from China that will protect the range of US industries, such as software, entertainment, and technology, harmed by the continued massive theft of their intellectual property and onerous and discriminatory market access restrictions in China. The lawmakers cited figures showing that eight out of 10 computer programs used in China are used illegally, and that the commercial value of stolen personal computer software had doubled over four years to 7.6 billion dollars in 2009. The Chinese governments ongoing tolerance of software theft creates an unfair trade advantage that costs jobs in the United States, charged the members of the committee, which writes tax and trade legislation. The lawmakers also criticized Chinas indigenous innovation policies that steer government contracts to home-grown companies, as well as Beijings restraints on key exports like so-called rare earth minerals. We urge the administration to measure progress on greater US market access into China and protection of US intellectual property rights by objective criteria, they wrote. The lawmakers urged commercially meaningful metrics for progress, including increased US exports to China or a measurable decrease in intellectual piracy.