May 17,2000

Finance Commitee Gives Overwhelming Support to Permanant Normal Trade Relations with China

WASHINGTON -- By a vote of 18 to 1 (19 to 1, including one vote of aye by proxy), the Senate Finance Committee today approved S. 2277, legislation that will extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China. At a press conference immediately following the markup, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) delivered the following remarks:

"Today's overwhelming, bipartisan vote by the Finance Committee to permanently normalize trade relations with China is a big victory for the principle of a rules based trading system. Both countries will win immeasurably. America will gain jobs as we gain access to the world's most populous market. China will gain American products. And just as importantly, they will gain American ideas about fundamental freedom, the rule of law and rights of the individual.

"The Finance Committee today has sent an unequivocal message that we are committed to breaking down barriers to American exports for the benefit of American farmers, workers, and industry and that we are committed to economic freedom for the people of China.

"By approving a clean bill today, we have signaled the strong bipartisan support that exists in this Committee for making China's normal trade relations status permanent. I believe this view is shared by our other colleagues in the Senate. Now it is up to the House and the full Senate to decide. I hope they will follow our lead.

"I am confident that my colleagues will support our farmers, workers and firms by giving them a fair chance to compete in China."

The bill will be taken up by the full Senate after the House has completed action.