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Friday, 25 February, 2000, 07:35 GMT
Clinton pushes China trade accord


Chinese threats to Taiwan have angered congressmen


President Bill Clinton has urged Congress not to block a trade agreement with China, which he said was a rare opportunity for exports and promoting regional stability.

Mr Clinton said he understood the concerns of some congressmen over China's human rights record and its recent threats against Taiwan, but Beijing's offer to open up its markets was a "once in a generation" opportunity which could not be passed up.

Clinton Clinton: Stability as well as exports
The accord is one of a number of bilateral deals meant to pave the way for China's access to the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Clinton said China did things Washington disagreed with, but added that the accord would help the US advance its concerns.

"If we do this, 20 years from now we'll look back and wonder why we ever even debated it." Mr Clinton said.

"If we don't, 20 years from now we'll still be kicking ourselves in the seat of the pants for turning away from an enormous opportunity to give our children a safer world."

'Crude interference'

The Chinese Government ealier rejected US criticisms over Taiwan as crude interference in its internal affairs. US senators threatened to scupper China's entry to the WTO after hearing Beijing threaten military action if the island delayed talks on reunification with China.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao said China strongly opposed such comments, saying Taiwan was purely an internal matter for the Beijing government.

China has been trying to join the WTO for 14 years, but must first reach trade agreements with all of the organisation's members.

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See also:
24 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: The trouble with Taiwan
24 Feb 00 |  Business
EU blow to China's WTO bid
21 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
China warns of force against Taiwan
23 Feb 00 |  Business
US-China trade deal 'in jeopardy'
24 Nov 99 |  Battle for Free Trade
Analysis: China's big WTO gamble
21 Feb 00 |  Business
China looks to WTO deal with EU
15 Nov 99 |  The Economy
China deal to boost economy
15 Nov 99 |  The Economy
China drops trade barriers
24 Jan 00 |  Business
EU meets China on WTO deal
13 Jan 00 |  Business
US battle over China intensifies

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