Clinton Takes China To Congress; Researchers Project Growth

Success is far from certain as the Clinton Administration launches an "all-out effort" to persuade Congress to grant China the same kind of permanent, normal trade status that the U.S. extends to most other countries. But the Administration is creating a special Cabinet committee to work with business and other groups eager to secure for China what used to be called "most-favored nation" trading status. Significantly, President Clinton has designated Commerce Secretary William M. Daley, who successfully lobbied Congress to pass NAFTA in the early 1990s, to colead the China effort. Steve Ricchetti, deputy White House chief of staff, will be Daley's coleader. The White House sees normalizing trade as being critical to China's entry into the World Trade Organization and implementation of a comprehensive trade deal with China negotiated last November by U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. Chances for approval are "quite good if we can get a vote early in the year," says Clinton. However, the House and Senate, particularly in this Congressional and Presidential election year, are very cautious about normalizing trade relations because of China's alleged shortcomings on labor standards, human rights, and nuclear nonproliferation. Both China and the world would gain short-term economic benefits from China acceding to the WTO and the Sino-U.S. trade pact being implemented, calculated the Conference Board in late-December. Largely as a result of increased domestic investment, China's growth rate in 2000 would advance to 10% from another otherwise estimated 8%. And global GDP growth would reach 3.6%, the New York-based business-research firm figured.

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