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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
Bush woos China on trade
Boeing plant
Companies like Boeing see China as a major market
US President George W Bush has announced he will be asking the United States Congress to renew normal trade relations with China this week.

In a speech in Los Angeles to the World Affairs Council, Mr Bush said he wanted free trade with China in spite of strained relations since an American surveillance aircraft made an emergency landing at a Chinese airfield in April following a collision with a Chinese fighter jet.


When we open trade, we open minds

George W Bush
He said open trade was a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia and a force for prosperity in the United States.

The US Congress last year approved a measure to lower US trade tariffs levied on Chinese goods as part of a deal that would grant China membership of the World Trade Organisation.

But delays to China's entry into the WTO have made it necessary for the Bush administration to extend normal trade relations with Beijing for another year.

Congress struggle

Mr Bush now faces a difficult battle in Congress to pass the measure.

US President George W Bush
Bush has long been an advocate of trade with China
The Democrat majority in the Senate created by Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords' departure from the Republican Party is likely to be sceptical of trade deals.

But Mr Bush hoped to persuade them by arguing that free trade would help facilitate other freedoms.

"When we open trade, we open minds," he said.

"Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia and a force for prosperity in the United States."

Repatriation

Correspondents say Mr Bush has long been an advocate of trade with Beijing, even during the recent row over the EP-3 spy plane.

His announcement came hours after an agreement between the two countries on the plane's repatriation.

The EP-3 is expected to be dismantled and flown out on an Antonov transport aircraft though no timetable has been given.

But China on Tuesday also refused to allow a United States warship to make a routine call at Hong Kong's port.

Beijing has made it clear that it is still upset about the US resumption of surveillance flights near Chinese territory and Washington's recent welcoming of the Dalai Lama and Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington
"The president argued that free trade was good for democracy"

Key stories:

Analysis

Spy plane row

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See also:

29 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
25 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
19 May 00 | Business
17 May 00 | Business
19 May 00 | Business
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