Clinton trade deals with china

Without such low trade tariff benefits, Chinese products would be priced out of the U. Through the latter half of the s, debate ensued in Congress about whether to require China to meet workplace and environmental standards as conditions for full trade privileges with the United States. In , then House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt, a labor ally and critic of Clinton on China, had warned of the damage that could be done to the planet if such conditions weren't attached to trade deals. And in , Clinton's last year in office, Congress ratified permanent most-favored-nation trading status for China—with few strings attached.

In doing so, Congress sided with many in the Clinton Administration who maintained that conditions actually would be counterproductive for environmental action. For one, she and others reasoned, limiting trade would keep China from developing the wealth it needed to finance environmental cleanup.

Two, China would simply trade with other nations and shun U. On the losing end of the debate was Vice President Al Gore. He argued in his book "Earth in the Balance" for a "global agreement—a system of economic accountability" and an environmental "Marshall Plan" to combat climate change. Gore wanted conditions on trade with China, specifically controls on U. Gore's vision never came to pass, even while he presided as vice president and lectured China on the need to control runaway emissions in , when nations finalized the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gases.

Instead, under most-favored-nation status, U. Together the U. Export-Import Bank and U. Preston, a J. Morgan executive, and corporate attorney James Wolfensohn—also helped finance another 29 coal power projects worldwide, some in China. Other similar government-sponsored financing institutions in Europe and Japan backed coal power plants, too. EDF found that combined the government-sponsored international financing organizations bankrolled some 20 coal power plants in China between and Typical of the U. The plant emits 15 million tons of carbon dioxide a year and is one of power plants in the coal-rich province west of Beijing, according to CARMA, a tracking database of coal plants financed by the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.

China's greenhouse gas emissions zoomed from about 2. Census Bureau statistics. Some observers of China say it's clear now that the Clinton administration should have done more to include environmental safeguards in trade deals.

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Kantor, who served under Clinton as U. He put the best face on trade with China in testimony to Congress. Although market reforms do not guarantee greater respect for human rights, economic prosperity brought increased pressure for democracy in such countries as South Korea and Taiwan. In China itself, political decentralization and personal autonomy have been expanding.

Assessing Trade Agendas in the US Presidential Campaign | PIIE

Particularly dramatic has been the growth of private associations and companies. The communist leadership will undoubtedly resist future democratization; in fact, military and security agencies resolutely opposed the WTO accord. Isolation would merely give the central authorities a pretext to crack down.

Finally, while Beijing could end up as an enemy of the United States, such a result is not preordained. The best response would be to step back and encourage U. In fact, American workers are far more productive than their Chinese counterparts.

How Bill Clinton Sent Manufacturing Jobs to China

Estimates of the likely increase in U. If Americans want to buy, say, toys, clothes or Christmas ornaments from Chinese rather than U.


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But as these old factories and mills shut down, people are losing their jobs and their benefits. Last year, Beijing announced it was going to be awarding bonus checks to Chinese citizens to celebrate China's 50th anniversary under Communism, but Xinyang didn't have the money to pay, and there was a massive local protest. To ease tensions, the local government has given the people a greater say in how their city is run.

On a limited basis, citizens now have the right to vote in local elections. It's not exactly democracy — the party still puts up the candidates and decides who can vote — but it is a first step, and it goes beyond Xinyang. Local elections now are held in the vast majority of the country's , villages. When asked why, one party official in Xinyang said: "This the beginning of a process. We realize that in order to improve social control, we have got to let the masses have a say. Well, sooner or later, that official will find that the genie of freedom will not go back into the bottle.

As Justice Earl Warren once said, liberty is the most contagious force in the world.

Administration’s own analysis suggests spiraling deficits, job losses

In the new century, liberty will spread by cell phone and cable modem. In the past year, the number of Internet addresses in China has more than quadrupled, from 2 million to 9 million. This year the number is expected to grow to over 20 million. When China joins the W. We know how much the Internet has changed America, and we are already an open society. Imagine how much it could change China. Now there's no question China has been trying to crack down on the Internet. Good luck! That's sort of like trying to nail jello to the wall. But I would argue to you that their effort to do that just proves how real these changes are and how much they threaten the status quo.

It's not an argument for slowing down the effort to bring China into the world, it's an argument for accelerating that effort. In the knowledge economy, economic innovation and political empowerment, whether anyone likes it or not, will inevitably go hand in hand. Now of course, bringing China into the W.

Clinton Inks China Trade Bill

But accelerating the progress — the process of economic change will force China to confront that choice sooner, and it will make the imperative for the right choice stronger. And again I ask, if China is willing to take this risk — and these leaders are very intelligent people; they know exactly what they're doing — if they're willing to take this risk, how can we turn our backs on the chance to take them up on it? Now, I want to be clear. I understand that this is not in and of itself a human-rights policy.

But still, it is likely to have a profound impact on human rights and political liberty. Change will only come through a combination of internal pressure and external validation of China's human-rights struggle. We have to maintain our leadership in the latter, as well, even as the W. We are again sponsoring a resolution in the U. Human Rights Commission condemning China's human-rights record, this year.

Administration’s own analysis suggests spiraling deficits, job losses

We will also continue to press China to respect global norms on nonproliferation. And we will continue to reject the use of force as a means to resolve the Taiwan question, making absolutely clear that the issues between Beijing and Taiwan must be resolved peacefully and with the assent of the people of Taiwan. There must be a shift from threats, to dialogue across the Taiwan Strait. Add we will continue to encourage both sides to seize this opportunity after the Taiwan election.

In other words, we must continue to defend our interests and our ideals with candor and consistency. But we can't do that by isolating China from the very forces most likely to change it. Doing so would be a gift to the hard-liners in China's government, who don't want their country to be part of the world; the same people willing to settle differences with Taiwan by force, the same people most threatened by our alliance with Japan and Korea, the same people who want to keep the Chinese military selling dangerous technologies around the world; the same people whose first instinct, in the face of opposition, is to throw people in prison.

If we want to strengthen their hand within China, we should reject the China-W. Voting against P. It will simply empower the most rigid anti-democratic elements in the Chinese government. It would leave the Chinese people with less contact with the democratic world and more resistance from their government to outside forces. Our friends and allies would wonder why, after 30 years of pushing China in the right direction, we turned our backs, now that they finally appear to be willing to take us up on it.

I find it encouraging that the people with the greatest interest in seeing China change agree with this analysis. The people of Taiwan agree. Despite the tensions with Beijing, they are doing everything they can to cement their economic ties with the mainland, and they want to see China in the W.


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  • The people of Hong Kong agree. I recently received a letter from Martin Lee, the leader of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, who has spent a lifetime struggling for free elections and free expression for his people. He wrote to me that this agreement, and I want to quote it, "This agreement," and I quote, "represents the best long-term hope for China to become a member of good standing in the international community. We fear that should ratification fail, any hope of political and legal reform process would also recede.

    Most evangelicals who have missions in China also want China in the W. They know it will encourage freedom of thought and more contacts with the outside world. Many of the people who have paid the greatest price under Chinese repression agree, too. Ren Wanding is one of the fathers of the Chinese human rights movement. In the late 's he was thrown into prison for founding the China Human Rights League. In the 's he helped lead the demonstration at Tiananmen Square.

    In the 's he was thrown in prison yet again. Yet he says of this deal, "Before the sky was black; now it is light. This can be a new beginning. For these people, fighting for freedom in China is not an academic exercise or a chance to give a speech that might be on television. It is their life's work. And for many of them, they have risked their lives to pursue it.

    I believe if this agreement were a Trojan horse they would be smart enough to see it.