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CNN Today

Senate Approves Trade Agreement with China

Aired September 19, 2000 - 2:45 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Another story we continue to watch on Capitol Hill: The Senate has just voted on a bill to grant permanent normal trade relations with China. This will be a major change in the U.S.-China relationship.

Let's go to CNN's Chris Black, who is watching the vote come down on Capitol Hill -- Chris.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it wasn't even close.

The Senate just voted 83 to 15 in favor of normalizing trade relations between the United States and China. This vote will end the practice -- once President Clinton signs it into law -- of holding an annual congressional review of China's trade and human rights policies. It also opens up a new era in U.S.-Chinese relations, one based on increased trade.

Now, as every American consumer know, there are a lot Chinese goods for sale in this country -- not so in China. In this bill -- in this law -- this law will clear the way for U.S. businesses to sell more of their goods in the biggest market in the world, a market with 1.3 billion consumers. The big, big winners at the beginning: the telecommunications and financial service industries, and the American farmer -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And so, as we spoke earlier, this designed to help business. What about reaction from environmental groups, human rights groups, to this major change in this relationship?

BLACK: Well, there is unquestionably, the human rights and environmental, and supporters, are very disappointed by this vote. They had hoped to put more curbs on China's behavior, to use trade to force the Chinese to behave more in their -- in a manner to their liking. That obviously wasn't the case this year.

The White House was convinced that if they didn't get this bill through this year, it would put the United States at an enormous disadvantage over the long run in terms of business. But President Clinton, when he speaks later this afternoon will, according to White House officials, say that he truly believes that more exposure to the West will actually be a big boost for the forces of reform inside China.

ALLEN: Chris Black, on Capitol Hill, thanks. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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