China-Based U.S. Execs To Lobby Congress On Trade Vote

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Beijing will take a group of 30 China-based U.S. executives to Washington in mid-April as part of efforts to persuade U.S. Congressional members that giving China permanent normal trade relations status is vital. Although the administration of President Bill Clinton wants to see the status granted, many politicians are worried that giving up an annual vote on China would reduce their leverage over Beijing. The visit to the United States is an annual trip, but this year the meetings will be especially important, chamber executive director Mike Furst says. The Apr. 10-14 trip will include gatherings with "friends" but also will target those politicians in the U.S. House of Representative and the Senate who are undecided on the issue, Furst says. The chamber also has written a number of position papers based on some of the key issues raised by the U.S. Congress as contentious including export controls, the effect of China's World Trade Organization entry on U.S. jobs, intellectual property rights, the environment, and human rights and encryption. Furst said the Chamber has seen an increase in membership this year, which it attributes to the prospect of China joining the WTO.

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