USA*ENGAGE Urges Gore to Clarify Position on China Trade Deal

Thursday, 17 February 2000

"We sincerely hope the Vice President is not privately criticizing a trade agreement that his own administration endorses in an attempt to maintain the support of labor in the upcoming presidential elections," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "To do so would only inspire opponents of the agreement to fight President Clinton’s effort to secure congressional approval of the China deal this year, which could indefinitely delay the market-opening benefits the US negotiated with China. For these reasons, Gore should publicly clarify his position on this vital issue."

Kittredge added that one of the best ways to improve China’s labor and environmental policies is though expanded trade, which will provide China with the tools it needs to make the transition from a developing to a developed country.

Congress will not directly approve of the agreement, but it must vote to give China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status. Doing so would let US firms benefit from the trade concessions China made to the US last year once China joins the World Trade Organization. The vote will also spur other countries to conclude their negotiations with China so the WTO can finally accept China as a member.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at www.usaengage.org.