September 19,2000

Roth Applauds Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for PNTR

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) called today's overwhelming vote of 83 -15 in favor of permanent normal trade relations with China "a bipartisan victory for America's workers, farmers and businesses."

Roth went on to say, "I agree with my friend and colleague Sen. Pat Moynihan that the vote we just cast was certainly the most important of this year and likely the most consequential of the past decade. I was pleased that in serving as managers of the bill, Pat and I were able to work so closely across the aisle in getting this done, first through the Finance Committee I chair where we had a 19-1 vote in favor and now in the Senate as a whole.

"Let us remember that in joining the WTO, China has committed itself to abandoning central control and throwing its market wide open to the United States and all the other WTO members, all within roughly five years. Let me note here that for our part, the U.S. market will not be opened further to China; our market is already open to the Chinese.

"Most of those who opposed PNTR did so because they believed that in denying the Chinese PNTR, we would somehow force them to change their behavior in any number of areas, from human rights to Taiwan to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"But would denying China PNTR actually have changed Chinese behavior? Frankly, there is little logic to this argument. After all, the only certain result of denying China PNTR is that we would have deprived U.S. farmers, workers and businesses access to China's lowered tariffs and more open market -- access that every other member of the WTO will enjoy.

"How is it that putting Americans at a competitive disadvantage to the French, the Germans, the Japanese and the Canadians would have compelled Beijing to act in ways the United States would prefer?

"I submit that in denying PNTR -- and thereby undermining American economic access to China -- we actually would have lost leverage over China rather than gain it. Only by engaging China economically, by permitting Americans to work within China and thereby pressuring her from the inside to restructure her institutions and advance the rule of law, do we stand the best chance of making Beijing more cooperative.

"That's why most of China's human rights dissidents have supported China's entry into the WTO and PNTR. As Wang Dan, a leader of the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, said, China's entry into the WTO "will be beneficial for the long-term future of China because China thus will be required to abide by the rules and regulations of the international community."

"Meanwhile, the Taiwanese, the people most threatened by China, also support China's WTO accession and PNTR. Taiwan's current and previous Presidents have both publicly affirmed their support for the United States fully normalizing trade relations with China.

"On the question of U.S. national security, the Americans most knowledgeable about the matter, including Presidents Ford, Bush and Carter, as well as virtually every living former Secretary of State and Defense, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agrees that PNTR will advance American interests. They recognize, as General Colin Powell put it, that if Congress rejects PNTR, the result will be 'to make [China] more isolated, truculent and more aggressive...'

"The vote over PNTR was thus about more than just economics. It was also about America's response to China's emergence as a leading power, a phenomenon which I believe presents us with potentially our most serious foreign policy challenge. But it also presents us with enormous opportunities. We can only respond to that challenge adequately and seize those opportunities through a sensible overall China policy. The clear objective of that policy should be to encourage China's constructive and responsible behavior and discourage its aggressiveness and irresponsibility.

"I believe our China policy must have five central elements, and PNTR forms the core of the first -- that of expanding our economic relationship with Beijing. We should seek such an expanded relationship because a China integrated into the global economy is more likely to behave in ways compatible with American interests and international norms. Thus, we should encourage China's development and participate in its economic growth by supporting China's accession to the World Trade Organization and by passing PNTR, as we have done.

"The more China is integrated into the international economy, the more subject Beijing is to the harsh realities of the marketplace. Should China choose a path toward blatant aggression and destabilizing domestic repression, foreign investment will dry up and firms will move to other countries where the risks are lower and the returns are higher.

"Moreover, we have a better opportunity to influence China to act in ways we prefer when we enmesh it in the sort of economic relationships fostered by granting China PNTR.

"In addition, economic growth nurtured by participation in the global economy tends to lead to greater demands for democratic reform. Other Asian countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, have amply demonstrated the political evolution that accompanies economic development. By encouraging trade with China, we are also encouraging a process that is likely to lead to the sort of political liberalization that is in America's interest.

"The second element of any coherent China policy must include preparedness to deal with China if its participation in world affairs proves disruptive. Strengthening our current array of bilateral security ties in Asia is thus essential. Those ties include not only the full security alliances we have with Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia, but also the productive security arrangements we maintain with Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand and other Asia Pacific nations.

"Closer cooperation on security and diplomatic initiatives with nations in the Asia Pacific that share our interests on China can serve to prod Beijing to accept the moderating influence of global economic integration. It also provides a hedge in the event Beijing instead chooses an aggressive path.

"Third, we must enforce current law regarding Chinese actions and be willing to challenge China on issues of concern. That is why we should continue to work to improve China's human rights policies and convince Beijing to abandon its repugnant use of forced abortions and grotesque practice of harvesting organs. We can pursue these ends, in part, by ensuring the success of the Levin-Bereuter Commission on human rights created by H.R.4444, further supporting Radio Free Asia and condemning China at the annual human rights conference in Geneva and at other international fora.

"We should respond to China when it persecutes Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths by using the authority granted by the International Religious Freedom Act.

We should continue to support Taiwan under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. The TRA affirms that any effort to determine Taiwan's future by other than peaceful means would, 'constitute a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific and be of grave concern to the United States.' The TRA also commits the United States to making available to Taiwan such defense articles and services in such quantities as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.

"We should push China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama regarding Tibet, supporting the Dalai Lama's call for 'cultural autonomy' within the Chinese system. And we should support the actions of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues within the State Department, a position created as a result of Congressional pressure in 1997.

"We should investigate credible allegations that Chinese goods have been produced by prison labor and enforce section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which bars imports of prison-made goods into the United States.

"We should work with the International Labor Organization to make sure that China lives up to its acceptance of the ILO's Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work, which among other things, affords the people of signatory countries the right to organize and bargain collectively.

"We should work to counter Chinese proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery through strict enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act, Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, the Export Administration Act of 1979, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act of 1994.

"And we should use the WTO's robust dispute settlement system to ensure that China meets its obligations to open its markets and abide by the rules of international trade.

"The fourth element of a coherent China policy is the continuation of high-level, regular dialogue with Beijing. Mistrust is bound to grow when we don't meet, particularly when the list of critical bilateral, regional and global issues requiring discussion is so long. Keep in mind that even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we held a consistent series of summit talks with the Soviets.

"Finally, we must nurture aspects of the relationship where we share interests and can cooperate. China has the potential to play a key role in settling the serious threat posed by North Korea to the South, as well as to the 37,000 American troops we have on the ground there. I cannot imagine the Chinese playing a constructive role on any matter of mutual concern -- from controlling transnational crime and narcotics trafficking to protecting the environment -- if we only threaten and sanction them.

"In sum, to meet the challenge and reap the opportunities of a rising China, we must encourage economic relations with Beijing based on the China's accession to the WTO and passage of PNTR, strengthen security and diplomatic ties with our friends in the rest of the Asia Pacific, enforce current law regarding Chinese actions and be willing to confront China when necessary, continue high-level dialogue, and cooperate with China on matters of mutual concern.

"In addition, the Congress should not shy away from criticizing Chinese actions that run counter to internationally-recognized norms or American interests. For my part, I will do everything in my power as Chairman of the Finance Committee to see that China not only lives up to its WTO obligations, but also begins the process of internal change that is essential if Beijing is to meet those obligations.

"PNTR is not a panacea. But it is a key component of a coherent strategy for addressing the complex set of issues associated with the rise of China. That is why I am pleased PNTR passed overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support."