March 17,2000

Committee to Continue Examination of China's Accession to WTO

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Thursday, March 23 at 10:00 am in room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to look at trade with the Peoples' Republic of China and its implications for United States national interests. This will be the second of a series of hearings conducted by the Committee to examine the implications of China's accession to the World Trade Organization, and of making permanent that country's normal trade relations status (knows as "PNTR").

The Committee will hear testimony from witnesses representing the Administration regarding U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region and how those interests are affected by the terms of our trading relationship with China. The Committee will also hear from witnesses with expertise in the fields of international relations, human rights, religious freedom, and labor rights. The purpose of the hearing is provide a broader context for the legislative debate that will likely occur later this year regarding PNTR.

The witnesses will be announced early next week.


China has been negotiating to join the WTO for over ten years. The WTO accession process involves series of bilateral market access negotiations with interested WTO members, as well as multilateral negotiations regarding the application of WTO rules to the applicant country. China concluded its bilateral negotiations with the United States this past November, and is expected to conclude the remaining negotiations over the next several month. Upon China's accession to the WTO, the United States is obligated to grant that country PNTR status. The grant of PNTR requires the passage of legislation by Congress.