A UNITED States report on foreign trade barriers has accused China of flouting agreements drawn up last year to open its markets to imports. ''US access to the Chinese market is still limited by a myriad of import restrictions and licensing requirements,'' it says. The United States Trade Representative's annual report may prompt new investigations into market access under Section 301 of US trade law. It attacks China's record on tariffs, import restrictions, labelling and export subsidies. The report covers nearly 50 countries. The China section depicts a government that is moving towards compliance with last year's market access deal with the US but that continues to apply restrictions to protect domestic industries. It says: ''China uses tariffs as one of several tools to protect its domestic industry and restrict imports. Tariff rates on many goods are prohibitively high. ''China has announced publicly that it will rely increasingly on tariffs as a barrier to imports as it phases out selected non-tariff barriers. ''China's import tariffs represent a major barrier to US commercial opportunities. Tariffs range from three per cent on promoted imports to 250 per cent on discouraged products for import such as automobiles.'' Noting that China agreed to dismantle nearly 90 per cent of its non-tariff barriers over five years under last year's market access memorandum of understanding (MOU), the report states: ''The US is taking strong efforts to ensure full implementation bythe Chinese of the MOU.'' It says that while China claims it has stopped subsidising exports, it still uses a mixture of indirect subsidies to promote exports. The report is a preliminary action document, and plays a key role in shaping policy for the year. Hongkong-based US lawyer Simon Luk Chi-ming, of Pettit and Martin, believes the report is likely to trigger Super 301 investigations. Mr Luk said: ''This is a prelude to priority targets, and may lead to a repeat of 301 proceedings, because this is what the hearings are based upon. ''Probably Super 301 is the more likely route this time round, since we have just been through the other two 301 routes.'' The report also accuses China of promoting the spiralling Sino-US trade deficit; keeping barriers to investment - although these have become more flexible - and further discouraging importers by refusing to clamp down on smuggling. It notes: ''The obvious success that smugglers have - clearly, in south China, with official connivance - fuels corruption and further degrades China's already poor regulatory environment.'' Releasing the report, the assistant US trade representative handling China issues, Mr Ira Wolf, said the US had spelt out to China that it must abide by the market access agreement reached last October. Mr Wolf said US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor had raised US concerns with the head of China's Foreign Trade Ministry. Mr Wolf said a US trade delegation would visit China later this month to continue efforts to make China comply with the agreement.