China Trade Efforts Gain Clinton Backing; Europe Gets Slapped

In an unexpected reversal, the Clinton Administration will try to persuade Congress to go along with improved trade relations with China, including U.S. backing for China's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Business lobbying apparently helped convince the Administration that holding out for additional Chinese concessions risked the U.S. getting no deal at all. Negotiations could resume by the end of this month. Meanwhile in Europe, U.S. punitive tariffs on goods are expected within a few days. The move comes in the wake of a WTO decision upholding the U.S. position in the so-called transatlantic banana war, which began with a dispute about whether or not Europe gives preferential treatment to banana suppliers outside the U.S. Among the $191.4 million worth of European exports affected are handbags, felt paper, cartons, lithographs, bed linens, and batteries.

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