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China Trade Pact Heads for Senate Approval

September 11, 2000|Reuters

President Clinton's historic trade pact with China is headed for final passage in the U.S. Senate, supporters say, despite a last-ditch offensive by critics of Beijing's record on human rights and alleged role in weapons proliferation. After months of delay, Senate leaders said they expected a final vote by Friday on legislation that would grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to China. Critics of Communist China, led by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), said they would introduce at least 10 amendments this week that could scuttle the trade bill, including a controversial plan calling for sanctions against China for alleged proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If any of the amendments are adopted, the trade bill would have to be sent back to a bitterly divided House of Representatives. Clinton has made passage of PNTR a top legislative priority. The bill would end the annual ritual of reviewing Beijing's trade status and guarantee Chinese goods low-tariff access to the U.S. market. In exchange, China has agreed to open a wide range of markets to U.S. businesses.

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