WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and Republicans predicted Monday that there will be mounting Congressional support next year to make China’s trade status permanent.
“The time has come to extend most-favored-nation status permanently,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D., S.D.). “It disadvantages the U.S. and U.S. businesses not to know our trade circumstances with China from year to year.”
Sen. Dirk Kempthorne (R., Idaho) also backed permanent MFN, as they, along with a group of other senators, discussed at a press conference here their trip this month to China and elsewhere in Asia. The conference also came on the heels of President Clinton’s meeting Sunday in Manila with Asian leaders, including China president Jiang Zemin.
Ending the contentious debate over China’s MFN, which requires annual renewal, would be a boon to retailers and importers, who have put winning permanent MFN at the top of their legislative agendas for years. The industry has relied on China’s plentiful low-cost imports and says that without China, worldwide sourcing would be severely disrupted.