By  on January 7, 1994

Byline: JOYCE BARRETT

WASHINGTON -- The administration's ultimatum Thursday against China's trade violations got a good reception from members of Congress close to the trade debate. At least one senator said if China does not take steps to end its illicit actions, he will move to make the administration's policy law.

Rep. John Spratt (D., S.C.) praised the promised quota reduction outlined by U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.

"I applaud Ambassador Kantor for facing down the Chinese and telling them squarely that if they want to sell textiles, clothing or any other products to the U.S., they must play by the rules," said Spratt. "No country enjoys more access to our textile and clothing market than China. Despite the generous quotas, which China has accepted, China overships its quotas every year."

Spratt is chairman of the House Textile Caucus and has probed China's transshipping practices in hearings held by the Government Operations Commerce, Consumer and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee, which he chairs.

Spratt said he planned to pursue additional policies to end transshipments, and he said he would seek tougher bilateral treaties with textile-exporting countries and greater resources for the Customs Service to detect and detain the illegal shipments.

Rep. L.F. Payne (D., Va.), another member of the House Textile Caucus and an advocate for the domestic textile industry on the House Ways and Means Committee -- which has jurisdiction over tax and trade matters -- lauded the action as a signal to China and all other trading partners that "the U.S. expects them to trade fairly."

Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Trade Subcommittee, also applauded the administration's move.

"Obviously they needed a tougher approach," Baucus said in a statement. "The administration has shown China that it will enforce a tough trade policy."

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D., S.C.), who has opposed granting China trade benefits with the U.S. in the past, approved of the administration's action, yet said in a statement, "Let's not jump up and down for the fact that we're finally enforcing our agreements."

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