April 08,1999

Roth Signals Preliminary Support on China Trade Concessions

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. today signaled preliminary support for the progress made with China today on trade. The Chinese have pledged significant concessions, including the removal of barriers to the sale of American wheat, citrus, beef, pork and importantly, poultry. In addition, progress was made toward a bilateral agreement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization on a commercially viable basis. Roth announced his intention to move swiftly to review these developments.

Tomorrow morning, Roth will lead a delegation of members of Congress in a meeting with the Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongji. In that meeting, he plans to raise these trade matters as well as some of the problems plaguing U.S.-China relations.

"While the U.S. relationship with China has entered a turbulent and difficult stage, I am looking forward to thoroughly reviewing the agreement reached today, on its own merits. At first glance, the progress achieved today appears beneficial to American business and to American workers," Roth stated.

"However, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, I must be certain that China is making the commitments necessary -- and will abide by those commitments -- to ensure that agricultural products, as well as industrial and other goods, services and investments from the United States are afforded access to the

Chinese market that is substantially equal to the access we provide the Chinese to our market. In my discussion with Premier Zhu tomorrow, I will make this clear.

"I have also stressed to Ambassador Barshefsky personally over the last several months the importance of market access for our poultry industry. I understand there may be issues outstanding that affect our automobile manufacturers and auto workers as well. I will therefore scrutinize this agreement carefully to ensure that our poultry farmers have full access to compete for the Chinese consumer market and that the concerns of our auto sector are addressed."