FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 26, 1996
Govs. Lowry and Edgar head Pro-China
MFN letter to Congressional leadership
OLYMPIA, Wash. and SPRINGFIELD, Ill -
Governors Mike Lowry, D-Wash., and Jim Edgar, R-Ill., today released
a letter signed by a majority of the nation's governors supporting
unconditional renewal of Most Favored Nation (MFN) status for
the People's Republic of China. The governors signing the letter
represent each state west of the Mississippi, except one, and
are the chief executives of states producing more than 80 percent
of the nation's exports.
On June 4, President Clinton signed an executive order extending
China's MFN status for another year. Under current law, Congress
has 60 days to reverse the president's decision. The governors'
letter urges Congress to join them in supporting former Sen. Dole's
and President Clinton's bipartisan efforts to renew MFN status
for China. They pointed out that MFN status only means that China
will have the benefit of "normal" treatment when exporting
to this country, and does not give Chinese exporters preferential
treatment when trading with the United States.
"Revoking MFN would not advance human rights in China,"
Lowry said. "In fact, it could damage our economy, cost
American jobs, and perhaps start a ruinous trade war between our
two countries. The best way to advance our ideas and values with
China is by maintaining a dialogue. Increased trade and communications
between our two nations has been beneficial to the Chinese people,
precisely because we did not cut off trade and commercial contacts
with China after Tiananmen Square."
Edgar emphasized that "unconditional renewal of MFN is the
best way of advancing America's strategic and economic interests.
China represents the world's largest consumer market, and bilateral
free trade with China has been good for the U.S. In addition,
non-renewal would harm Hong Kong, which is reverting to Chinese
control, and would also harm Taiwan, whose economy depends heavily
upon trade and investment with China."
Washington and Illinois are two of the most trade-dependent states
in the country, and Govs. Lowry and Edgar are viewed as "trade
governors" by their peers. Two years ago they organized
a coalition of more than 40 governors who endorsed the signing
of the GATT agreement and the creation of the World Trade Organization.
For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790 or Bob Randolph, Washington State Special Trade Representative, at 206-464-7143.