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World IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C.

Gingrich Retreats on Hong Kong Linkage

May 12, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

Acquiescing to the urgings of Hong Kong's democratic leaders, House Speaker Newt Gingrich pulled back on a proposal to link favored trade status with China to its behavior toward Hong Kong. In about a month, Congress must take up President Clinton's expected decision to extend to China for another year normal trading status that ensures low tariffs on Chinese goods. Gingrich, reflecting congressional concern about political rights in Hong Kong after the British colony reverts to Chinese control July 1, has supported two proposals--either to put off a vote until this fall to give China a chance to show its good intentions or extend the trade status for only three or six months until the situation in Hong Kong is clearer. But Hong Kong leaders, including its British governor, Chris Patten, and pro-democracy politicians such as Martin Lee, have come out strongly against using trade status as leverage against Beijing.

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