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An Historic Moment for U.S.-China Relations

Clinton Signs Normal Trade Relations for China into Law

October 10, 2000

President Clinton's Signing of Legislation Establishing Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China Marks an Historic Moment in U.S.-China Relations.

Establishment of PNTR with China will open markets for U.S. goods and services and strengthen U.S.-China relations, continuing to pave the way toward economic freedom for the Chinese people.

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 negotiated last December with China:

-- 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.

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.

-- Industrial tariffs will be slashed.

-- Right to import and distribute in China will be established.

-- New markets for U.S. information technology will be developed.

-- Broad new access for American services like telecom/insurance/banking.

(end text)

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

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