Clinton hails trade pact with China
November 15, 1999
ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- President Clinton said Monday he will mount an "all-out effort" to persuade Congress to act on Monday's trade agreement with Beijing, which helps clear the way for China to join the World Trade Organization.
Clinton, on a visit to Turkey on Monday, called the trade pact an "excellent agreement." He thanked his negotiating team, and saluted Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji for their commitment to push the negotiations, which lasted four days longer than planned.
"This is a very good day for American diplomacy," Clinton said.
The president received an optimistic update on the WTO talks following a Sunday meeting his negotiators had with Zhu, China's point man on economic reform.
That session, one U.S. official said, spurred a round of detailed talks on the remaining obstacles, including the scope of international investment allowed in China's telecommunications and financial services industries. U.S. officials, meanwhile, pressed their concerns about Chinese textile imports into the United States.
"In opening the economy of China, the agreement will create unprecedented opportunities for American farmers, workers and companies to compete successfully in China's market, while bringing increased prosperity to the people of China," Clinton said.
Clinton walked away from a tentative agreement with the Chinese in April, and his negotiators have been in China for nearly a week trying to salvage a deal in time for a WTO meeting in Seattle in two weeks.
Trade is an extraordinarily sensitive and complicated political issue for Mr. Clinton at home.
Some labor and environmental organizations affiliated with his Democratic Party are skeptical that China will improve human rights and environmental practices. At the same time, many Republicans question the wisdom of striking a deal with China amid concerns over nuclear espionage and other issues.
U.S., China sign market-opening agreement
World Trade Organization (WTO)
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