WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07) today joined Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Tom Suozzi (NY-03) in introducing bipartisan legislation that would restore congressional oversight to bilateral U.S. trade with Communist China by stripping them of their Permanent Normal Trade Relations status. H.R. 7193 brings back checks and balances that existed prior to 2001 when the United States granted the communist dictatorship so-called “Most Favored Nation” trade status.
“When policymakers extended Permanent Normal Trade Relations status to China, they claimed it would usher in a new era of prosperity here at home while paving the way for political reform, improved human rights, and fairer labor practices in China – but we all know that’s not what happened. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen America’s manufacturing sector suffer while the elites in China’s Communist Party have become richer, more ruthless, and more dangerous than ever as they engage in systematic human rights abuses, slavery, and genocide. There is nothing normal about the behavior of China’s dictatorship, and America cannot afford to enable that behavior on a ‘permanent’ basis any longer,” said Congressman Tiffany.
“Since President Clinton delinked trade from human rights with China in 1994—and under successive Administrations, including now under the Biden Administration—the Chinese Communist Party has gotten a pass for its gross human rights violations while benefiting tremendously by stealing American jobs and growing into the economic superpower it is today,” said Congressman Smith, who held a press conference on Capitol Hill in 1994 slamming Clinton and others for rewarding the “cruel realities” of China’s Communist regime with trade benefits. “Many if not most business and political leaders have long bought into the ‘China Fantasy’ that overlooks human rights abuses while asserting that increased trade will make China more like us,” continued Smith. “It was not true then and it’s not true now.”
“It’s been 50 years since President Nixon first went to China, and we always believed that the more the Chinese government was exposed to our way of life, our democracy, and our economic system, the more they would become like us and value human rights and free markets. That simply has not happened. Now more than ever, we must stand up to China’s crimes against Uyghurs and Tibetans, and its destruction of democracy in Hong Kong. We cannot continue to allow China to act with impunity and undermine the rules-based order by cheating at the expense of other nations. It’s time for the US Congress to make clear that if Chinese government refuses to meet its obligations to its citizens and the international community, it will face serious consequences, including the possible removal of PNTR,” said Congressman Suozzi.
Before 2001, China’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) status was subject to an annual review and vote in Congress. This vote provided lawmakers with important leverage to press Beijing on key issues like labor and human rights, market access, and unfair trade practices.
In the years since, China’s rulers have continued to engage in systematic human rights abuses, the widespread theft of U.S. intellectual property, economic espionage, cyberattacks, a high-profile crackdown on democracy campaigners in Hong Kong, and increasing military provocations in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
The bill, which largely mirrors Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would require the President to renew China’s preferential trade status each year. Congress could then overturn the renewal by passing a joint resolution of disapproval.