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White House - PNTR Passage "An Historic Moment"

White House - PNTR Passage "An Historic Moment"

INCLUDING: White House Fact Sheet – Clinton Statement – Gore Statement

Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China: An Historic Moment for U.S.-China Relations


White House Fact Sheet

September 19, 2000

The Senate's Passage Of Permanent Normal Trade Relations For China Marks An Historic Moment In U.S.-China Relations. Passage of PNTR by both the House and the Senate marks an historic moment in our pursuit of open markets and stronger U.S.-China relations, and continues to pave the way toward economic freedom for the Chinese people.

China's Entry To The WTO Will Slash Barriers To The Sale Of American Goods And Services In The World's Most Populous Country. China's entry into the WTO will dramatically cut import barriers currently imposed on American products and services. This agreement locks in and expands our access to a market of over one billion people. China's economy is already among the world's largest and over the past 20 years has expanded at a phenomenal annual rate of nearly 10 percent. During this period, U.S. exports to China have grown from negligible levels to over $14 billion each year. For agriculture alone, USDA estimates that China's WTO accession would result in $2 billion annually in additional U.S. agricultural exports by 2005.

China Made Unilateral Concessions; We Will Simply Maintain The Market Access Policies We Already Apply To China. China made significant, one-way market-opening concessions across virtually every economic sector, including increasing access to its markets for agriculture, services, technology, telecommunications, and manufactured goods. China also agreed to eliminate "unseen" barriers, such as exclusive rights to import and distribute goods.

-- Agriculture tariffs will be cut by more than half on priority products. On U.S. priority agricultural products, tariffs will drop from an average of 31% to 14% by January 2004, with even sharper drops for beef, poultry, pork, cheese, and other commodities. China will significantly expand export opportunities for bulk commodities such as wheat, corn, and rice, and it will eliminate trade-distorting export subsidies. Our producers may also export and distribute directly inside China for nearly every agricultural product without going through state-trading enterprises or middlemen. Sales in the Chinese market will be a boon to American farmers, who have recently faced tough times.

-- Industrial tariffs will be slashed. Industrial tariffs on U.S. products will fall from an average of 24.6% in 1997 to an average of 9.4% by 2005. Considering that manufactured goods comprise a large proportion of American exports, the drop in Chinese tariffs is good news for our high-tech manufacturers and basic industries.

-- Right to import and distribute. At present, China severely restricts trading rights (the right to import and export) and the ability to own and operate distribution networks, both essential to move goods and compete effectively in any market. Under the agreement, China will phase in trading rights and distribution services over three years, and also open up sectors related to distribution services, such as repair and maintenance, warehousing, trucking, and air courier services. Trading rights and distribution services will allow our businesses to export to China from here at home, and to have their own distribution networks in China, rather than being forced to set up factories in China to sell products through Chinese partners. This is a top priority of U.S. manufacturers and agricultural exporters.

-- New markets for information technology. China will participate in the Information Technology Agreement and will eliminate tariffs on products such as computers, semiconductors, and related products by 2005. Our IT firms lead the world and stand to earn handsomely in this huge, expanding, and information-hungry market.

-- Broad new access for American services like telecom/insurance/banking. The agreement also opens China's market for services. For the first time, China will open its telecommunications sector and significantly expand investment and other activities for financial services firms. And it will greatly increase the opportunities open to professional services such as law firms, management consulting, accountants, and environmental services. China also agrees to ensure the existing level of market access already in effect at the time of China's accession for U.S. services companies currently operating in China, protecting against new restrictions.

China's Accession to the WTO Will Strengthen Our Ability To Ensure Fair Trade And To Protect U.S. Agricultural And Manufacturing Base From Import Surges, Unfair Pricing, And Abusive Investment Practices Such As Offsets Or Forced Technology Transfer. Prior to the negotiation of the U.S.-China accession deal, Democrats and Republicans in Congress raised legitimate concerns about the importance of safeguards against unfair competition. As a result, no agreement on WTO accession has ever contained stronger measures to strengthen guarantees of fair trade and to address practices that distort trade and investment. This agreement addresses those concerns through:

-- A China-specific safeguard. For the first 12 years -- in addition to the existing global safeguard provisions -- China has also agreed to a country-specific safeguard that is stronger and more targeted relief than that provided under our current Section 201 law. This ensures that the U.S. can take effective action in case of increased imports of a particular product from China that cause or threaten to cause market disruption in the United States. This applies to all industries, permits us to act based on a lower showing of injury, and permits us to act specifically against imports from China.

-- Strong anti-dumping protections. The agreement includes a provision recognizing that the U.S. may employ special methods, designed for non-market economies, to counteract dumping for 15 years after China's accession.

-- Requiring China to eliminate barriers to U.S. companies that can cost American jobs and technology. For the first time, Americans will have a means, accepted under the WTO rules, to combat such measures as forced technology transfer, mandated offsets, local content requirements and other practices intended to drain jobs and technology away from the U.S. As stated above, we will be able to export to China from home, rather than seeing companies forced to set up factories in China in order to sell products there.

-- Provisions in WTO rules that allow the U.S. -- even when dealing with a country enjoying NTR status -- to continue to block imports of goods made with prison labor, to maintain our export control policies, to use our trade laws, and to withdraw benefits including NTR in a national security emergency.

China's Accession Will Help Promote Reform In China And Create A Safer World. China's accession to the WTO will encourage Chinese leaders to move in the direction of meeting the demands of the Chinese people for openness, accountability, and reform. The agreement:

-- Deepens market reforms. Obligates China to deepen its market reforms, empowering leaders who want their country to move further and faster toward economic freedom. This agreement will expose China to global competition and thereby bring China under even more pressure to privatize its state-owned industries and expand the role of the market in the Chinese economy. Chinese as well as foreign businessmen will gain the right to import and export on their own, and to sell their products without going through government middlemen.

-- Accelerates removal of government from lives of China's people. Accelerates a process that is removing the government from vast areas of China's economic life. China's people will have greater scope to live their lives as they see fit. In opening China's telecommunications market, including to Internet and satellite services, the agreement will over time expose the Chinese people to information, ideas and debate from around the world. As China's people become more mobile, prosperous, and aware of alternative ways of life, they will seek greater say in the decisions that affect their lives.

-- Strengthens rule of law in China. Obliges the Chinese government to publish laws and regulations and subjects pertinent decisions to review of an international body. That will begin to strengthen the rule of law in China and increase the likelihood that it will play by global rules as well. It will advance our larger interest in bringing China into international agreements and institutions that can make it a more constructive player in the world, with a stake in preserving peace and stability.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

******

Text: Vice President Gore Sept. 19 Statement on Senate PNTR Vote (Passage of China trade bill benefits U.S. economy, security)

The White House issued a press release from the office of Vice President Gore following the Senate's September 19 vote to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status to China.

Following is the text of the press release:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release Tuesday, September 19, 2000

STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT ON THE PASSAGE OF PNTR

Trade has been an important part of our economic expansion and prosperity. Open markets spur innovation, speed the growth of new industries and make our businesses more competitive. Today's action by the Senate will mean more good jobs for American workers and more opportunities for American farmers and businesses. It will also promote America's security because bringing China into the global trading system will help accelerate the rule of law in that country.

Passage of PNTR is important for our economy and our security, but it is only part of what we must do to assure that America's workers and interests will fully benefit from the global economy. We must combat unfair trade practices abroad when they harm our working families. We must also be vigilant in monitoring China's record on human and worker rights, non-proliferation, and protection of the environment.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

****

Transcript: Clinton Statement on Senate China PNTR Vote

(Also discusses Mideast, Cuban airplane, and oil reserves) (2160)

President Clinton September 19 praised the overwhelming vote in the Senate for legislation that grants China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status, calling it a "landmark agreement."

Appearing in the White House briefing room shortly after the Senate voted 83-15 to approve the legislation, Clinton said the measure "will extend economic prosperity at home and promote economic freedom in China, increasing the prospects for openness in China and a more peaceful future for all of us."

Once the bill is signed by Clinton, it becomes law.

The House of Representatives had passed the same legislation May 24 by a 237-197 margin.

Clinton said the new law will give the United States "a chance -- not a certainty, but a chance -- to strengthen our prosperity and our security, and to see China become a more open society. Now our test as a nation is whether we can achieve that. I hope and I strongly believe that we will."

Asked what incentive China will have to listen to U.S. concerns about human rights and weapons proliferation, Clinton said that already, on the proliferation front, "we've made a lot of progress. China signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and they worked with us to stop transfers that we thought were destructive, and on more than one occasion."

Problems persist, Clinton said, but "the incentive they will have is that more and more countries will want to become more and more involved with them as long as they feel that they're becoming more responsible members of the international community."

On the Middle East, Clinton said reports that the Israelis broke off discussions with the Palestinians and then said they were to resume, only reflects the fact that both sides are "down to the difficult issues, and they're both feeling the pressure of these hard issues and the press of time. I don't think it's more complicated than that, and I think you should expect, from time to time, both sides to express some exasperation, and as long as they get back to the work, you should feel positive about it."

Regarding the Cuban plane reported to be hijacked that went down the morning of September 19 in the Gulf of Mexico, Clinton said there will be "a lot of questions about what should be done about the people that are found alive. I think the most important thing now is just to worry about their care -- how badly are they hurt, what kind of medical care do they need, how quickly can we get it to them? To me, that's the overwhelming question. And I think other facts will emerge as the day goes on, and we'll probably know a lot more about it tomorrow."

Asked how close he is to deciding whether to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Clinton said "We need a few more days to see what the real market impact of the OPEC decision is." The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently announced it would boost oil production.

Clinton said the results of that decision are not yet clear. "It's been sort of complicated by speculations about Iraq, about speculations about what the refinery capacity is, and some uncertainties still about how much oil is on the seas now, based on production. So I'm studying this very closely. I've talked to a lot of people about it. I will continue to do that."

Following is the White House transcript:

***********

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

September 19, 2000

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON SENATE PASSAGE OF CHINA PERMANENT NORMAL TRADE RELATIONS

The James S. Brady Briefing Room

3:42 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today the Senate voted to pave the way for permanent normal trade relations between the United States and China. This landmark agreement will extend economic prosperity at home and promote economic freedom in China, increasing the prospects for openness in China and a more peaceful future for all of us.

When we open markets abroad to U.S. goods, we open opportunities at home. This vote will do that. In return for normal trade relations -- the same terms of trade we offer now to more than 130 other countries -- China will open its markets to American products from wheat, to cars, to consulting services. And we will be far more able to sell goods in China without moving our factories there.

But there is much more at stake here than our economic self-interests; it's about building a world in which more human beings have more freedom, more control over their lives, more contact with others than ever before. A world in which countries are tied more closely together, and the prospects for peace are strengthened.

Trade alone won't create this kind of world, but bringing China under global rules of trade is a step in the right direction. The more China opens its markets to our products, the wider it opens its doors to economic freedom, and the more fully it will liberate the potential of its people.

When China finishes its negotiations and joins the WTO, our high-tech companies will help to speed the information revolution there. Outside competition will speed the demise of China's huge state industries and spur the enterprise of private sector involvement.

They will diminish the role of government in people's daily lives. It will strengthen those within China who fight for higher labor standards, a cleaner environment, for human rights and the rule of law.

And we will find, I believe, that America has more influence in China with an outstretched hand than with a clenched fist. Of course, none of us should think for a moment that any of these outcomes are guaranteed. The advance of freedom ultimately will depend upon what people in China are willing to do to continue standing up for change. We will continue to help support them.

Peace and security in Asia will depend upon our military presence, our alliances, on stopping the spread of deadly weapons. So we will continue to be a force for peace, and we will not rest in our efforts to make sure that freer trade also is fairer trade.

These are some of the most important issues that our nation faces. That's why this vote was so important and, for many, so difficult. I want to thank Senator Lott and Senator Daschle, Senator Roth, Senator Moynihan and Senator Baucus, as well as those who led our effort in the House, and everyone within this administration who worked so hard to achieve this important milestone.

But I also want to acknowledge those who raised important questions about this policy, and say to you this is not the end of the story, it is the beginning. We have a chance -- not a certainty, but a chance -- to strengthen our prosperity and our security and to see China become a more open society. Now our test as a nation is whether we can achieve that. I hope, and I strongly believe, that we will.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what's your understanding of what's going on in the Middle East? Prime Minister Barak announced a suspension of talks; now, he says he'll resume tomorrow. What's going on there, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: They're down to the difficult issues, and they're both feeling the pressure of these hard issues and the press of time. I don't think it's more complicated than that, and I think you should expect, from time to time, both sides to express some exasperation. And as long as they get back to the work, you should feel positive about it.

Q: Are you, sir, exasperated by the process itself?

THE PRESIDENT: No. I always thought it was going to be hard. And they're down to the difficult -- there are no easy decisions now, so we've just got to keep working at it and try to finish.

Q: Now that they have the trade bill, sir, what incentive will China have to listen to our concerns about human rights and weapons proliferation?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, on the proliferation front, let me point out that we've made a lot of progress. China signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And they work with us to stop transfers that we thought were destructive on more than one occasion.

Are there still problems? Yes, there are. I think that the incentive they will have is that more and more countries will want to become more and more involved with them as long as they feel that they're becoming more responsible members of the international community. And also, they'll have other ways to earn money over the long run that are responsible, legal, and actually socially beneficial.

And I also believe that they have shown in other ways that they would like to be partners in the international system, and assume a leadership role that is constructive. All of this will be possible if there is a common course on nonproliferation. Furthermore, I think that all big countries will come to see that their own personal interests are more advanced by nonproliferation than by having various entities within the country make a quick buck through proliferation. It's not good politics, and it's certainly not good for national security.

Q: Mr. President, have you followed the situation of this downed aircraft just off of Cuba, and what can you tell us about that situation, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know that I can say any more than I have seen on the breaking news. I have clearly -- I've been briefed, and we know about what's been on the news reports. Let me say this. I can imagine that there will be a lot of questions about what should be done about the people that are found alive. I think the most important thing now is just to worry about their care -- how badly are they hurt, what kind of medical care do they need, how quickly can we get it to them. To me, that's the overwhelming question, and I think other facts will emerge as the day goes on, and maybe we'll probably know a lot more about it tomorrow.

Q: How close are you, sir, to making a decision on tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and what sort of time constraints do you have to work with, given the fact that winter's coming?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first I want to -- I really do want to see what is the considered market judgment about the recent OPEC move and I don't think we've seen it yet. It's been sort of complicated by speculations about Iraq, about speculations about what the refinery capacity is, and some uncertainty, still, about how much oil is on the seas now based on production.

So I'm studying this very closely. I've talked to a lot of people about it; I will continue to do that. But we have some time before it will be too late to affect the supplies and availability of all the products we'll need as the cold weather sets in. I just think we need a few more days to see what the real market impact of the OPEC decision is. And as all of you know -- you've read all the stories and analyses about what the decision might or might not mean -- and I just want to see what the lay of the land is, and then I'll make the best judgment I can.

Q: Would mid-October be too late?

Q: Mr. President, there's word that Independent Counsel Ray will release a statement tomorrow about his findings on Whitewater, including the role of your wife. Six weeks away from the election, do you question the timing?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, even Mr. Starr said almost two years ago that there was nothing to any of that stuff that's just been coming out now, a year and a half later. So I think people are capable of drawing their own conclusions about that. I don't think I can serve much of the public interest by commenting on it. I think it's pretty obvious.

We had a report from a truly independent source in 1996, saying that nothing wrong was done and that Hillary's billing records fully supported her account -- 1996. So nothing has changed in this thing in the last few years, and I think people will just be able to draw their own conclusions.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

---

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