USA*ENGAGE Calls PNTR Vote Most Crucial Engagement Vote in Decades

Tuesday, 23 May 2000

"Congress has a clear choice and a rare opportunity to affect future generations with one vote," said Bill Lane, Washington Director of Government Affairs for Caterpillar and Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "PNTR will pave the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, which is conditioned on China agreeing to open its markets, slash its tariffs, and follow international trade rules. In this way, PNTR is a catalyst that will let the U.S., and the rest of the world, reap the enormous economic benefits of trading with China."

Lane stressed that aside from the economic benefits that PNTR will bring, trade with China will also help the U.S. exert a stronger influence over how China develops politically. "Engagement has a proven track record of promoting democracy and human rights, and promises to be far more effective than our current strategy, which is to annually threaten China with trade sanctions," he said.

"It is our hope that tomorrow’s vote will signal a change in attitude that will stabilize U.S.-China relations and help people prosper in China, the U.S. and the rest of the world," Lane concluded.

USA*ENGAGE and the National Foreign Trade Council have previously announced that the vote would receive "double counting" on the next Congressional Report Card, to be issued prior to the party conventions and fall election season.

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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