Rep. Pelosi and Colleagues at China NTR Press Conference
Another year has passed, and the long-running Clinton-Bush China policy has still not made trade fairer, people freer, or the world safer. Despite many name changes, the underlying policy remains the same -- and remains a failure.
Most recently, changing "Most Favored Nation" (MFN) to "Normal Trade Relations" (NTR) begs the question of what normal trade relations are or should be. Is trade with China "normal" when our trade deficit with China is surging to a projected $67 billion in 1999? Is it "normal" that China maintains barriers to U.S. goods and services, including high tariffs and non-tariff barriers, non-transparent trade rules and regulations, restrictions on investment, trading, and distribution rights, and restrictive government procurement practices? Is it "normal" to steal intellectual property and use forced labor to produce exports?
For 10 years, advocates of unconditional MFN have argued that economic reform would lead to political reform in China and that U.S. exports to China would increase. In terms of political reform, this "trickle-down liberty" has not been validated. The rise in U.S. exports to China as a proportion of total U.S. exports has been practically insignificant. In the first quarter of this year, the United States exported more to Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Brazil, Belgium, and Singapore than to China.
On this July 4th weekend, it behooves us to follow a path that strengthens our foreign policy goals of promoting democratic values and growing our economy through exports. The current U.S.-China policy does neither.
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