News Release

Trade Policy Issues: Africa and China


As Congress considers key legislation about trade relations with Africa and China, the following policy analysts are available for interviews:

Senior policy analyst with the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Pajibo said today: “This Africa trade bill will not improve the conditions for most people in Africa. It fails to provide for desperately needed debt cancellation, poverty reduction or an end to structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It will, however, help major multinational corporations. It doesn’t lay the basis for Africa to have a manufacturing capability. Instead, it continues with what has been happening: Africa being a source of raw materials.” Pajibo added: “Unjust economic policies lead to war in Africa. Poor economies lead to unstable political conditions. The conflicts in Sierra Leone and in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are largely funded by diamond sales, which are controlled by criminally minded individuals. What the U.S. can do is constrain those sales.”
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Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and co-author of Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy, Wallach said today: “The Clinton administration’s China trade bill asks Congress to abdicate its annual oversight of China’s aberrant record on human rights and religious freedom. The Clinton administration is trying to sugar-coat its PNTR [permanent normal trade relations] for China proposal with side agreements which do nothing to cover the flaws of PNTR. The unenforceable Levin provisions would provide no incentive for Beijing to change its behavior. Given that the administration and GOP leaders oppose any parallel measure with real teeth, the very fact that Levin’s proposal might be acceptable demonstrates how meaningless it really is. It duplicates measures that currently fail to improve conditions in China on human rights and on trade. The Levin proposal would rely on United Nations sanction for enforcement, yet U.S. attempts to censure China at the UN High Commission on Human Rights have failed every year for the past decade.”
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Co-director of Food First and co-editor of America Needs Human Rights, Mittal said today: “China entering the World Trade Organization will hurt U.S. workers and devastate Chinese workers. NAFTA has eliminated more than 400,000 U.S. jobs. It is these trade agreements and not China which pose a threat to the U.S. worker. China has provided a lot of economic human rights for its people, but in the WTO they will be left at the mercy of the market, which is what devastated Russia. We should not be xenophobic against the Chinese, but we should recall that the U.S. has, in many instances, acted like the rogue nations it criticizes.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167