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American Shipper

U.S. HOUSE EXPECTED TO PASS CHINA TRADE BILL

U.S. HOUSE EXPECTED TO PASS CHINA TRADE BILL

   As legislation to normalize U.S. trade with China neared a late afternoon roll call Wednesday, both supporters and opponents said the bill would pass, if narrowly.

   The bill would grant normal trade relations with China and Beijing would, in turn make a series of marketing opening concessions in order to join the World Trade Organization.

   In the process, U.S. businesses gain access to 1.25 billion people — the world's most populous nation — one of the fastest growing economies.

   An attempt by bill opponents to sidetrack the bill failed by a 294-136 margin.

   The bill is expected to move more easily through the Senate, where it has bipartisan report.

   The bill gives China the same low-tariffs that the United States offers to nations with “favored nation status.” China had been getting these benefits for the past 20 years, but it has been subject to annual renewal.

   While passage of the U.S. bill has no direct bearing on China's entry to the WTO, bill supporters argue that rejecting the bill would give trade benefits to other nations that U.S. businesses would not enjoy.

   Opposition to the bill has come from unions, environmental and human rights interests, who say the trade bill rewards a brutal regime and will move U.S. manufacturing jobs to China.

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