CHINA ASKS US TO END YEARLY REVIEW OF MOST-FAVORED-NATION TRADE STATUS

CHINA ASKS US TO END YEARLY REVIEW OF MOST-FAVORED-NATION TRADE STATUS

China has called on the United States to end its annual practice of reviewing the most-favored-nation trade status and to build up good long-term bilateral trade relations, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported Thursday.

Quoting an article in the People's Daily by Li Lanqing, the minister of foreign economic relations and trade, it said the U.S. practice had created feelings of insecurity among businessmen from both sides. "They dare not make (the risk of) long-term plans," he said."We believe that the Chinese and U.S. governments have the responsibility to create a good atmosphere for trade, cooperation and investment," Mr. Li said. "Therefore, we hope that the U.S. side can take measures to change the practice of congressional debate on the MFN every year. This will help solve the problem fundamentally," he said.

Mr. Li's comments came just before the U.S. Senate was to debate and vote on a bill aimed at making renewal of China's MFN conditional on Chinese progress on issues ranging from human rights to weapon sales.

"Any conditional extension of MFN is unacceptable . . . the consequence is that not only economic and trade relations between the two countries will suffer severe setbacks but the political relations will also be seriously jeopardized," Mr. Li said. "This will lead to a full-scale retrogression of Sino-U.S. relations."

The United States also would benefit from good bilateral trade relations between the two countries, said Mr. Li. "If there is no man-made obstacle the volume of US imports into China will further increase this year," said the Chinese official.