U.S. Chamber Calls China PNTR 'Single Most Important Vote this Session'

Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce told the Ways and Means Committee that permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for China is good for business, good for workers, and promotes our national interests, in testimony before the House committee today.

China will enter the World Trade Organization, once they have signed agreements with other WTO members, regardless of whether Congress passes PNTR. A vote on PNTR will only determine whether U.S. companies benefit from improved access to China's market under the trade agreement that was negotiated last year.

"The agreement is one-sided in our favor. In exchange for Chinese concessions, the United States is not required to open its markets wider to Chinese imports. These concessions are the price of admission China must pay to become a WTO member," said Dale Grogan, president of Leapfrog Smart Products, Inc., a software development firm, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber.

Over 95 percent of the world's population lives outside of the United States. According to the Chamber, isolationism could kill businesses that rely on foreign markets, as well as U.S. suppliers to those firms.

"We have a simple choice to make. We can either embrace and profit from China as a trading partner, or stick our heads in the sand and hope they go away," said Grogan. "I am responsible for the livelihood of 50 employees and their families; the choice is simple for me. We need PNTR and WTO for China."

Grogan emphasized the importance of WTO membership to the United States as well as China. The WTO represents greater enforcement of U.S. rights and assurances that all member nations will abide by the rules. Countries that belong to the WTO are obliged to follow WTO rules – rules the U.S. had a disproportionate role in shaping. Broadly speaking, participating in the WTO advances American democratic values, Grogan said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.