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Speaker Announces May Date for China NTR Vote

House Speaker Hastert Announces May Date for China NTR Vote

(Calls for bipartisan effort to pass legislation) (470)

The Speaker of the House of Representatives says he has asked the Majority Leader to schedule a vote on granting China permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) status for the week of May 22.

Representative Dennis Hastert (Republican of Illinois) made the announcement April 5.

While calling on fellow Republican Representative Dick Armey of Texas to schedule the May vote, House Speaker Hastert also called on Democrats to support granting permanent NTR status to China.

"This will have to be a bipartisan effort," the Illinois Republican said, "we will need the help of some Democrats to pass this legislation."

Granting permanent NTR status to China involves voting to end application of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 to China. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must vote on the issue.

Following is the text of the Speaker's statement:

(begin text)

Statement by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)

Regarding Vote on

China Permanent Normal Trade Relations

Washington, DC - House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made the following statement today:

"Today, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, will address members of the Republican Conference. He will remind us that the government does have a role in promoting economic growth. This can be a positive role or a negative role.

"One of the most positive things our federal government can do to continue our nation's economic growth is to promote free trade. Free trade is good for our high tech economy. It is good for our nation's farmers. It is good for our nation's workers. It is important for our nation's prosperity.

"I have asked the Majority Leader to schedule a vote on granting permanent normal trading status to China for the week of May 22. By extending permanent normal trade status to China, we give our nation's entrepreneurs an opportunity to export out American values and our American products to the people of China. It gives us a chance to break down barriers and build up trust between our two nations. This vote will differentiate between those who want to keep our economy growing by opening markets and those who want to retreat behind a wall of fear and protectionism.

"This will have to be a bipartisan effort. We will need the help of some Democrats to pass this legislation. I call on the Minority Leader, Mr. Gephardt, to clarify his position when it comes to this issue. Is he on the side of free trade and continued economic growth or is he on the side of the protectionists?"

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State - www.usinfo.state.gov)

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