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THE HOUSE : Trade With China

July 17, 1991

The House voted 223 to 204 to keep China from retaining most-favored-nation trade status as requested by President Bush. The House then extended most-favored-nation trade status to Beijing for another year (below) with conditions opposed by the President.

Favored trade status entitles exporters to the lowest U.S. tariffs. Communist regimes receive it only if Congress approves. The trade status for China has been losing support on Capitol Hill since the 1989 Tian An Men Square massacre.

Sponsor Gerald B.H. Solomon (R-N.Y.) said: "The Chinese leadership hates our democracy . . . our capitalism . . . our ideas about freedom. But it loves our money."

Opponent Sam Gibbons (D-Fla.) said the best way for America to bring about reforms in China is to stay in touch with it through trade.

A yes vote opposed a MFN renewal for China as requested by the White House.

How They Voted

Rep. Gallegly (R): Nay

Rep. Lagomarsino (R): Nay

Conditions for China

The House voted 313 to 112 to renew trade privileges for China with conditions designed to make it less of a police state. To keep most-favored-nation trading status, China within a year must make major human rights and demo cratic reforms. The measure (HR 2212) became the House position on trade with Beijing and was sent to the Senate.

Supporter Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) said: "Jawboning is not likely to bring freedom to the people of China."

Opponent Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) said: "Let us work with China, trade with China, influence their policy" and create American jobs.

A yes vote was to make China's status conditional on sweeping internal reforms.

How They Voted

Rep. Gallegly (R): Yea

Rep. Lagomarsino (R): Yea

Source: Roll Call Report Syndicate

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