Tags: Bush | Wants | Reward | China | Extending | Trade | Status

Bush Wants to Reward China by Extending Trade Status

Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM

"Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for prosperity in the United States," said Bush, speaking before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

Bush has supported trade with China, though it was unknown whether that relationship would stand after Beijing held a U.S. flight crew hostage for 11 days in April. The crew made an emergency landing on Hainan Island after a Chinese fighter jet struck its EP-3 surveillance plane in international airspace.

The plane remains at a Hainan airport, although the United States and China have now worked out an arrangement to dismantle the airplane and transport it to the United States aboard a leased, non-U.S. government transport.

"When we open trade, we open minds," Bush said. "We trade with China because trade is good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for democracy, and because trade is good policy for our national security."

Last year Congress passed a measure giving China normal trade status with the United States, but it does not become effective until China becomes a member of the World Trade Organization, which is still under negotiation in Switzerland.

According to the State Department, the Chinese economy faces a myriad of problems, ranging from unemployment and underemployment in rural areas hovering at more than 30 percent to regional economic disparities. State Department demographers estimate that between 80 million and 130 million people make up a floating population, with tens of millions of people leaving their rural homes in search of better jobs and living conditions in the cities.

"Free trade supports and sustains freedom in all its forms. Free trade has expanded the portion of China's economy that is independent of the state. Free trade has swelled the ranks of the independent business people. Free trade has introduced new technologies that offer Chinese people access to uncensored information and democratic ideas," Bush said.

Critics oppose U.S-China trade relations and cite China's disastrous human rights record and its poor relationship with Taiwan. Opponents of normalized relations say that China's communist government has intensified crackdowns on religion and on political dissidents in Tibet.

Last week the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader exiled from Tibet, visited Bush at the White House and said he supported U.S-China trade relations, stressing that China should not become an isolationist country.

Granting a one-year extension of trade status to China might be complicated with the power shift in the U.S. Senate, which will be controlled by Democrats when Congress reconvenes June 7.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for prosperity in the United States, said Bush, speaking before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Bush has supported trade with China, though it was unknown whether that...
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2001-00-29
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM
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