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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 1, 2001

Statement by the President
Renewing Normal Trade Relations Status for China

Earlier today, I informed Congress of my decision to extend Normal Trade Relations status for China, as every President has done since 1980. This decision advances the economic and security interests of the American people and I urge Congress to support it.

Normal Trade Relations -- a status which virtually every other country in the world receives from the United States -- is in the interests of American workers, some 400,000 of whom are employed in or benefit directly from America's trade with China.

Trade is in the interests of American farmers, who last year exported more than $3 billion to China and Hong Kong and who this year should export even more as China removes bans on key American products like citrus, wheat and meat.

Trade is in the interests of American business, nearly 80 percent of which are small or medium-sized, which last year increased their overall exports to China by 24 percent, making China our 11th largest export market.

Trade is in the interests of American consumers, especially those who live from paycheck to paycheck and depend on inexpensive goods from China to enhance their quality of life.

Fair trade is essential not only to improving living standards for Americans but also for a strong and productive relationship with China. Normal Trade Relations status is important if we are to promote American values of transparency and accountability and ensure that the Chinese government adheres to the rule of law in its dealings with its own people as well as with the international community.

Renewal of Normal Trade Relations also sends a clear but simple message to the people of China: the United States is committed to helping China become part of the new international trading system so that the Chinese people can enjoy the better life that comes from economic choice and freedom.

The United States has a huge stake in the emergence of an economically open, politically stable and secure China. Recent events have shown not only that we need to speak frankly and directly about our differences, but that we also need to maintain dialogue and cooperate with one another on those areas where we have common interests. An important area where the interests of our two countries converge is in maintaining a healthy trading relationship. Renewing Normal Trade Relations status for China will only make those ties stronger.


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