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Working To Open China's Markets

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White House at Work

March 1, 2000

"This is a good deal for American workers, for American farmers, for American business. It's a good deal for America."

President Bill Clinton
March 1, 2000

Today, in Ashburn, VA, President Clinton spoke to high-tech industry employees on the importance of China's accession into the WTO and how it will benefit American workers and businesses. The President urged Congress to grant permanent Normal Trade Relations with China to ensure that we - and not just our global competitors - reap the benefits of the agreement we negotiated with China.

ACCESS TO CHINA'S MARKETS IS VITAL TO OUR IT LEADERSHIP. China's information technology equipment market is estimated to be growing at 20-40% annually. China has the world's fastest growing telecommunications market, and some analysts predict China will become the world's second largest personal computer market by the end of this year, and the third largest semiconductor market by 2001. U.S. access to these burgeoning markets is critical if we are to maintain our global leadership role in information technology.

A CLEAR WIN FOR U.S. HIGH TECHNOLOGY. While this agreement represents a "win-win" for both countries, it is important to recognize the one-way, market-opening concessions that China made across the wide range of high technology products and services. The United States made no market-opening concessions. Granting China permanent Normal Trade Relations would simply maintain the market access policies we already apply to China, and is the only way to guarantee most of the benefits of the agreement we negotiated. China's accession to the WTO will open China's high technology market to U.S. firms. China will eliminate information technology tariffs by 2005, grant trading and distribution rights by 2003, open its Internet and telecom markets to investment and services, and provide stronger protection of intellectual property. This will allow the U.S. to participate in building China's information infrastructure.

Some of the benefits of China's WTO accession agreement for U.S. high-tech industries include the following:

  • China will eliminate tariffs and quotas on information technology products by 2005;
  • U.S. high-tech companies will gain the right to trade and distribute goods and services with China for the first time;
  • China will allow foreign investment in all telecommunications services for the first time;
  • China will adopt pro-competitive WTO principles for telecommunications regulation;
  • The agreement will provide strong protection for intellectual property rights;
  • The agreement contains strong provisions against unfair or market-distorting Chinese trade;
  • China will eliminate practices that cost American jobs and technology;
  • State-owned and state-invested enterprises will compete on commercial, non-discriminatory terms; and
  • The United States will continue to maintain our strong export control policies and laws.

INTEGRATING CHINA INTO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. China's accession into the WTO will make communication tools cheaper, better, and more widely available in China. It will enable Chinese businesses and consumers to connect with the global economy, and will increase the flow and exchange of information among Chinese and between China and the outside world. This market openness can play an important role in promoting the right kind of change in China.

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