|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Tuesday, May 9, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following comments today at a full committee hearing on the financial services provisions of an agreement that would allow China to enter the World Trade Organization:
"Twenty years from now, when people look back on the Clinton era, the vote on normal trade relations with China will be one of the most historic votes cast during the eight years of the Clinton administration.
"It's hard to imagine a more important vote or anything that is more important to a continuation of America's commitment to trade and the expansion of trade in the post-war period.
"We have two witnesses on our first panel this morning: Larry Summers, who is Secretary of the Treasury and an eminent economist, and Charlene Barshefsky, U.S. Trade Representative. I must say both of our witnesses are among my favorite people in the Clinton administration, and it's a short list, but they are at the very top of it."
The second panel of witnesses was made up of representatives of the banking, insurance and securities industries.
"Some of the best provisions in the agreement have to do with banking and insurance and securities," Gramm said. "In each of these three areas, an agreement on Chinese accession to the WTO would bring dramatic improvement in market openness and a vast expansion of the economic freedom of the people of China.
"All of the criticisms of China are true," Gramm added. "But things there will get worse, not better, if we do not bring China into the WTO."