Smith reintroduces legislation to revoke China’s trade privileges
Smith, Chair of bicameral China Commission, says human rights is top priority
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who was recently selected to chair the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), has reintroduced legislation (HR 638) to revoke China’s trade privileges—known as permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status—in response to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) atrocious human rights violations and ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Central Asian minorities.
“Ever since President Clinton delinked trade with China from human rights in 1994, the Chinese Communist Party has been growing into an economic power, stealing American jobs and intellectual property while getting an absolute pass for its heinous human rights abuses,” said Rep. Smith, who has chaired 76 congressional hearings on the CCP’s egregious human rights violations.
“America should never let genocide and slave labor become a ‘permanent’ or ‘normal’ part of U.S. trade,” said Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI), a cosponsor of the legislation. “It’s time we stopped overlooking widespread human rights abuses as just the ‘cost of doing business’ in Communist China and restored the annual congressional review of China’s ‘most favored nation’ trade status.”
The Smith-Tiffany legislation would relink China’s trade status with its record on human rights and require annual affirmation by the President that the CCP is making serious and sustained improvement in respecting human rights in order to achieve preferential treatment in trade protocols, sometimes referred to as most favored nation (MFN) status.
“We must correct President Clinton’s horrific mistake and return to the pre-Clinton norm by making annual renewal of normal trade relations contingent on concrete progress on human rights,” said Smith, who has been targeted with sanctions by the Chinese government and banned from China for his tireless advocacy and legislative work to promote human rights.
Smith, who was tapped by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to chair the CECC, said “exploring how to strengthen the linkage between human rights and trade and placing human rights at the forefront of all aspects of US policies toward China” will be one of the top priorities for the China Commission in the 118th Congress.