torsdag 20. juni 2024

In Retrospect: Full Text of Clinton's Speech on China Trade Bill (2001)

In 2001, China was admitted to the World Trade Organization, WTO. In Congress, as in US as whole, opinion was divided, but President Clinton's arguments won the day: 

"We understand that America has a profound stake in what happens in China and how China relates to the rest of the world. That's why, for 30 years, every president, without regard to party, has worked for a China that contributes to the stability of Asia, that is open to the world, that upholds the rule of law at home and abroad.

Of course, the path that China takes to the future is a choice China will make. We cannot control that choice; we can only influence it. But we must recognize that we do have complete control over what we do. We can work to pull China in the right direction, or we can turn our backs and almost certainly push it in the wrong direction. The W.T.O. agreement will move China in the right direction. It will advance the goals America has worked for in China for the past three decades.

And of course, it will advance our own economic interests. Economically, this agreement is the equivalent of a one-way street. It requires China to open its markets — with a fifth of the world's population, potentially the biggest markets in the world — to both our products and services in unprecedented new ways. All we do is to agree to maintain the present access which China enjoys.

Chinese tariffs, from telecommunications products to automobiles to agriculture, will fall by half or more over just five years. For the first time, our companies will be able to sell and distribute products in China made by workers here in America without being forced to relocate manufacturing to China, sell through the Chinese government, or transfer valuable technology — for the first time. We'll be able to export products without exporting jobs. Meanwhile, we'll get valuable new safeguards against any surges of imports from China. We're already preparing for the largest enforcement effort ever given for a trade agreement.

If Congress passes P.N.T.R., we reap these rewards. If Congress rejects it, our competitors reap these rewards. Again, we must understand the consequences of saying no. If we don't sell our products to China, someone else will step into the breach, and we'll spend the next 20 years wondering why in the wide world we handed over the benefits we negotiated to other people.