|Issue 03, 2005 (22 February)|
| Bill Introduced to Repeal PNTR for China|
On 9 February, a bi-partisan bill with 61 co-sponsors (45 Democrats and 16 Republicans) was introduced in the House of Representatives that would repeal permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status for China. PNTR, which allows imports from China to be subject to normal duty rates, was extended to China in 2000 prior to its accession to the WTO. Similar repeal legislation was introduced two years ago but found little support.
Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT), one of the principal supporters of the bill, stated that "anyone who takes an objective look at our trade policy with China must conclude that it is an absolute failure and needs to be fundamentally overhauled." Sanders sharply criticised the increase in the bi-lateral trade deficit with China since passage of PNTR in 2000 and claimed that "corporate America is shifting our manufacturing plants, our good-paying jobs to China where desperate people are forced to work for wages as low as 20 cents an hour." According to Sanders, "the word has got to go out loud and clear to companies like Wal-Mart, GE, GM, IBM and dozens more, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that they cannot keep sending America's future to China. Trade is a good thing, but must be based on principles that are fair to American workers. The U.S. Congress can no longer allow corporate America to sell out the middle class and move our economy abroad."