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U.S. Department of State

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 27, 1999


STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

I welcome the strong bipartisan vote in the House today to extend normal trade relations (NTR) with China.

Extending NTR is the right way to advance America's interests. Our exports to China have nearly tripled over the past decade to $14.2 billion. NTR boosts not only America's economy, but also those of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as China.

NTR promotes China's integration into the global economy, which in turn strengthens market-oriented reformers within China. Expanding trade can help bring greater social change to China by spreading the tools, contacts and ideas that promote freedom. Maintaining NTR helps us to move China toward global norms on human rights, weapons of mass destruction, crime and drugs, and the environment, as well as on trade. China clearly has far to go in all these areas, and we will continue to address our differences directly and protect our national interests.

I remain determined to pursue an agreement for China to join the WTO on viable commercial terms -- not as a favor to China but as a means of opening and reforming China's markets and holding China to the rules of the global trading system. I remain ready to work closely with Congress to secure permanent NTR status for China in the context of a commercially strong WTO agreement.

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