WTO Membership For China Likely To Be Tougher Than NTR Vote

With an estimated 200,000 U.S. jobs and $18 billion in exports depending on trade with China, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased with Tuesday's House of Representatives 260-170 vote approving a one-year renewal of normal trade relations (NTR) between the U.S. and China. "As China offers to open its vast markets as part of its bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), U.S. exports are poised to grow tremendously. This House victory is important to U.S. negotiators' efforts to secure a WTO deal that will benefit American business," says Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber's president. However, it's not clear when the often-contentious negotiations for China's accession to the WTO will resume; China cut off talks following what the U.S. says is the mistaken bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia's capital, nearly three months ago during the Kosovo conflict. And, warns Gerrit Gong, director of Asian studies at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, "The United States needs to have clear indications that China will abide by its trade commitments and that the United States will have timely and effective recourse if China does not."

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