May 8, 2000
The Honorable William J. Clinton
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
The Honorable Trent Lott
Dear Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Majority Leader:
On behalf of the Consumer Industry Trade Action Coalition ("CITAC") and the undersigned companies and trade associations, we write to express our support for the proposal to provide the People's Republic of China with "permanent normal trade relations" ("PNTR").
CITAC speaks for American companies that rely on open global trading channels to stay competitive. In the modern world, all companies need imports to compete and prosper. Global sources of supply are increasingly important in our manufacturing industries (construction, automobiles, tires, other steel-intensive products, aluminum and other metals, high technology industries such as semiconductors, heavy machinery, etc.). Competition from imports keeps our own industries alert and strong, better able to supply the fast-changing needs of U.S. manufacturers. This principle applies to consuming industries and our supplying industries.
The vote for China's PNTR is critical for advancing the goal of open channels of trade for America. America's consuming industries are concerned that misguided efforts to influence Chinese behavior by withholding PNTR will backfire, swiftly and certainly, leaving our companies lagging behind others around the world in the race for new markets and new technologies.
The jury is in, we believe on the connection between trade, living standards, environment and labor standards: more trade means higher living standards, better environment and labor standards. Even if the world united behind trade sanctions in an ill-conceived effort to change China, we strongly believe it would not work. In the current situation, where the United States would act alone, there is absolutely no chance of success for such tactics.
CITAC does not support every provision in the U.S.-China bilateral agreement. We believe it was a mistake to lock in non-market economy treatment under the antidumping law for 15 years for China's goods. We also are skeptical about "safeguard" provisions that may keep vigorous competition from our market in textiles, apparel and other industries. However, we believe the good far outweighs the bad in this agreement.
We note that most U.S. industries strongly favor PNTR with China. Organized labor, unfortunately, does not. They desire to slow down the pace of change and preserve the status quo as long as possible. We do not agree. The world is changing and we must embrace that change and thereby benefit from it. It does no good to stand in its way.
We look forward to working with you to achieve this result, in the interest of business and working people in the United States and around the world.
Consumer Industry Trade Action Coalition