Business Softens On China Trade: Monitoring O.K.

Businesses backing U.S. permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China would prefer a so-called clean bill -- legislation without amendments -- when the issue comes to a vote in the House of Representatives in two weeks. Privately, however, they're signaling that a bipartisan PNTR measure that includes a means for monitoring China's human-rights performance would pass their muster. Apparently not likely to get business backing -- nor the House Republican leadership's approval either -- is a comprehensive PNTR plan drafted by Rep. Sander Levin (D, Mich.) and Rep. Douglas Bereuter (R, Neb.) that provides for a special human-rights and trade-performance commission, trade aid for U.S. industries and workers hurt by surges of Chinese exports, and an annual review of China's compliance with World Trade Organization rules.

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