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World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was formed on January 1, 1995, as successor
to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which had regulated
tariffs worldwide since 1947. The WTO regulates tariffs on services,
intellectual property, food, and government purchasing. The Clinton
administration has been working very hard to negotiate a deal with China, a
nation we have given ?Most Favored Nation’ status to, to enter into the World
Trade Organization. After a long negotiation process, we have reached a deal
with China. The conditions of the deal require China to open its markets to a
wide range of US products and services and to permit increased investment in
China by US firms. Of course the agreement has to be passed by Congress, which
is bound to create a lively debate on the matter. US Commerce Secretary, William
Daley, is trying to convince America that this deal with China is critical to
their pocketbooks. He says, “If you enjoy this economic success we are
participating in, this is an important piece of its future.” I have a hard
time seeing how things will change if China is admitted to the WTO. We already
trade a great deal with China and have given them ?Most Favored Nation’ status
already. I think there are several reasons why we should not let China into the
WTO. There are several political risks involved with this deal with China.

Organized labor and environmental groups are using this deal to somehow
introduce environmental conditions and labor rights into the WTO rules. Although
they are in opposition to the deal right now, they will construct a bargain in
which they will trade their support of Chinese membership for the rules to be
added. Chinese membership is also a great risk for China. The increased imports
from the United States and other countries and the production in China by
foreign firms will provide strong competition to many of the state-owned
industries. I think this will force many Chinese businesses to close down. The
only other solution would be to cut back on workers at these companies, which
would increase the unemployment rate in China. The resulting rise in
unemployment can hurt their economy and cost them a lot of money. The last, and
perhaps most important issue in this debate is over China’s human rights and
labor standards. China is a communist country, which is something Americans seem
to completely disagree with. If I recall, Little Elian from Cuba (another
Communist country) is stuck in the middle of a debate over whether we should
send him back to his country because it is Communist and we are so against that
form of government. If we are so appalled by Communism, why do we want to give
?Most favored nation’ status to one of the few remaining Communist countries?
That is why we have an embargo on Cuba. When China is ready to take steps
forward in human rights and labor standards, then we can talk about trade

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