Bush Formally Hands China
Normal Trading Relations
By Arshad Mohammed

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Taking the final step to normalize U.S.-Chinese trade ties, President Bush on Thursday formally granted China the same low-tariff levels the United States extends to nearly all other nations.
The White House said Bush had signed a proclamation giving China "permanent normal trading relations" as of Jan. 1, 2002, a formality that follows more than a decade of negotiations and Congressional approval for the move last year.
The White House said Bush also ended the application of the Jackson-Vanik provisions, which require communist nations to show they do not restrict emigration before they can have normal trading relations with the United States, to China.
Despite stiff opposition from labor and human rights groups, the U.S. Congress last year passed legislation to give China permanent normal trading relations and end the 20-year annual Washington ritual of reviewing China's trade status.
In exchange for the lower-tariff benefits, China agreed to open a range of markets from agriculture to telecommunications under the terms of a landmark deal Beijing negotiated with the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Bush signed the proclamation on Thursday at his Crawford, Texas ranch, where he is on vacation, the White House said.
"Taking effect Jan. 1, 2002, this is the final step in normalizing U.S.-China trade relations and in welcoming China into a global, rules-based trading system," the White House said in a statement.
"It marks the completion of more than a decade of bilateral and multilateral negotiations and the beginning of a process of working constructively with China to help it fully implement its commitments on trade liberalization," it added.
Last year, the U.S. Congress approved granting China "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) putting it on a par with most other U.S. trading partners. But the deal hinged on Beijing's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The White House said Congress had approved the step subject to the president's certification that the final terms for China's entry to the Geneva-based WTO were at least equal to those agreed to by China and the United States in 1999.
The White House said Bush made that certification on Nov. 9 and that China had formally joined the WTO on Dec. 11.
The PNTR legislation, signed into law by Clinton last year, was hailed at the time as a victory for U.S. companies like Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co. which hope it will lead to billions of dollars in new sales in the Chinese market, potentially the world's largest, with 1.3 billion consumers.
However, it was regarded as a defeat for labor unions and other critics of Beijing, who argued that granting permanent normal trade relations would strengthen a communist government that abuses its workers, threatens Taiwan, spreads weapons of mass destruction and allegedly stole U.S. nuclear secrets.
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