Labor Aspects of PNTR: Benefits for American Workers and Farmers May 12, 2000

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 2000

Labor Aspects of PNTR:
Benefits for American Workers and Farmers
May 12, 2000

Permanent Normal Trade Relations For China Means More U.S.-Made Exports To China. American Workers And Farmers Will Get The Full Benefits Of China’s Accession Only If Congress Grants PNTR. If Congress enacts PNTR, there will be more exports to China of products made in the United States by American workers and farmers. If Congress does not grant PNTR, our competitors will enjoy the full market access and enforcement rights in China that we will be denied.

The U.S.-China WTO Accession Agreement Gives American Workers And Farmers Unprecedented Access To China’s Market. The one-way Agreement negotiated in November requires China to open its market, while we are required only to maintain the market access policies we already apply to China by granting PNTR. Denying China PNTR will cost American exports and the jobs they support, as our competitors in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere capture Chinese markets that we fought to open. Under the strong, enforceable market opening Agreement negotiated by the U.S.:

The Agreement Gives American Workers And Farmers New Leverage To Ensure Fair Trade And To Protect Against Import Surges and Unfair Pricing. No agreement on WTO accession has ever contained stronger measures to strengthen guarantees of fair trade and to address practices that distort trade and investment.

The United States Will Monitor Vigilantly And Enforce Aggressively. We are already preparing for an increased monitoring and enforcement effort through President Clinton’s request for $22 million in new enforcement and compliance resources for USTR, the Commerce Department, USDA, and the State Department. The President is requesting resources for the largest monitoring and enforcement effort for any agreement ever, covering China’s obligations in the WTO and strong enforcement of our trade laws. For the Department of Commerce, the new initiative would triple resources dedicated to China trade compliance -- including administration of our unfair trade laws. The additional resources sought for USTR would strengthen its ability to pursue a two-track strategy of negotiating good, smart agreements, and ensuring that the terms of those agreements are fulfilled. The new Commerce/State Overseas Compliance Program would strengthen our capacity to gather information “on the ground” by providing for trade experts to monitor compliance with international trade obligations and support enforcement of U.S. trade laws. The President’s budget also calls for providing additional resources to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bolster its legal and technical expertise in areas covered by trade agreements and U.S. trade law.

The President’s Recently Proposed Manufacturing Initiatives Would Further Increase Opportunities And Protections For American Workers. On February 4, the President announced $386 million in new proposals and program expansions that will help strengthen American manufacturers, workers, and communities and help keep manufacturing a strong and vital part of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. The President’s FY 2001 Budget request calls for expanding trade promotion and financing, expanding and enhancing assistance for workers and communities, developing and making available technologies that enable smaller manufacturers to thrive, and upgrading the skills of the manufacturing workforce.

The President's New Markets Initiative Will Spur New Capital Investment In Businesses In Economically-Distressed Areas. The President's New Markets Initiative is designed to spur private investment and economic activity in distressed areas, both urban and rural. Finding business financing and the right kind of technical business advice is a critical need in many economically distressed communities. These programs help entrepreneurs find the financing and advice they need to start up, and once started, to grow. As part of the New Markets Initiative, which will spur at least $22 billion in new capital investment in businesses in economically-distressed areas, the President has proposed to more than double the proposed New Markets tax credit at a cost of about $5 billion over 10 years and expand Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives at a cost of $4.4 billion.

Passage Of PNTR And China’s WTO Accession Will Further Open China To American Values And Practices. U.S. companies are more committed than their Asian competitors to progressive labor management practices and protecting the safety of their workers.

We Will Continue to Press China To Respect Internationally Recognized Labor Rights. The United States continues to make clear our concerns about labor rights violations in China. President Clinton and President Jiang announced a dialogue on labor issues in June 1998 that addresses core labor standards, labor law, and development of social safety net issues. In 1998, China joined the United States and other members of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in adopting a new Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work. This Declaration included a follow-up compliance mechanism and covered rights such as freedom of association, right of collective bargaining, non-discrimination, and the abolition of forced labor. The Chinese Minister of Labor and Social Security visited Washington in 1999 to begin the bilateral labor dialogue. Secretary Herman made clear the priority we place on implementation of internationally recognized labor standards, and our firm opposition to and deep concern about the detention, arrest, and imprisonment of persons for labor-related activities that are protected by ILO standards. The U.S. has supported ILO findings on China’s law and practice in the area of freedom of association.

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