The Issue: Later this month, probably during the week of May 22, the House is expected to vote on the Administration's proposal to grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to the People's Republic of China. The USCC opposes granting permanent normal trading status at this time, and urges Members of Congress to vote against PNTR.
Background: Throughout the past decade, Congress has had the opportunity of an annual review of China's performance on a range of important issues as a condition for renewing what was then called "most favored nation"(MFN) trade status. With others concerned about China's denial of workers' rights, the existence of slave labor camps, its coercive population policies, the lack of environmental protection, a hostile military posture, and especially its abysmal record on human rights and religious freedom, we have called on Congress to condition trade relations to improvements in these areas.
Although both the Bush and Clinton administrations succeeded each year in overcoming a strong and growing opposition in the Congress, the public debate itself provided a valuable means of raising important concerns. If PNTR is granted, that vehicle would no longer be available.
We want to be clear that our opposition is not to China's entry into the World Trade Organization, nor to an active and mutually beneficial trade relationship between our country and China. Both are possible without the U.S. granting permanent NTR. We want to assure the continuation of the annual Congressional review process.
Action Requested: As an attachment to this e-mail is Cardinal Law's letter on PNTR that has been sent to every member of the House. (The Senate is almost certain to pass PNTR but the House could still go either way.) Please call/write your Representative as soon as possible, expressing the concerns laid out in the cardinal's letter and urging a NO vote when PNTR comes up later this month.
We have a chance to make a difference on this key issue. We seek to keep human rights, religious freedom, and other basic concerns at the forefront of the U.S.--China relationship.
Further information: Tom Quigley 202-541-3184 (phone); 202-541-3339 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)