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Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan Endorses Bill to Grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations With U.S.

Aired May 18, 2000 - 1:07 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS,CNN ANCHOR: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan lends his support to a bill that would grant permanent normal trade relations with China. CNN has learned President Clinton plans to take the case to the American people in a televised address Sunday.

CNN senior White House correspondent John King follows the story from the White House -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, we hear about the Fed chairman quite a bit, such as when interest rates go up, as they did this past week. But very rare is it for Mr. Greenspan to inject himself into controversial legislative debates. His appearance here at the White House in the Rose Garden today a reflection of how much the administration knows this is a vote the president cannot afford to lose.

What it would do is grant permanent normal trade relations with China. That would allow the United States to enjoy the trade benefits, the lower tariffs, if and when China enters the World Trade Organization. Mr. Greenspan, in his remarks today, said it would be a big win not only for the Chinese economy, but for the U.S. as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN GREENSPAN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: As China's citizens experience economic gains, so will the American firms that trade in their expanding markets. China's progress towards prosperity and accession into the WTO will create new opportunities for American businesses and farmers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This event part of the White House push to win over a few more undecided lawmakers, the president increasingly confident of victory when the House votes next week. Still, he noted at this event today that Chairman Greenspan was not the only VIP who backs the administration when it comes to China trade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All the former presidents support it, along with former secretaries of state, defense, trade, transportation, national security advisers, chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, religious leaders, many of the courageous people in China fighting for human rights and the rule of law. Momentum is building, but we've still got a challenging fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And the president's opponents not giving up. Most of them are from his own party. You see key members of the House Democratic Caucus here in a chain line with Chinese dissidents. They say China's human rights record should not be rewarded with freer and more trade with the United States and other nations, the opponents keeping up their fight. The White House, again, says it's within a few votes of victory, trying to get some undecided lawmakers to make public declarations. As part of that effort, the president planning a public address to the American people on this issue Sunday night from the Oval Office -- Lou.

WATERS: John King at the White House.

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