The Great Non-Debate on China Trade of 2000

I was struck by Sen. Sherrod Brown’s op-ed in the New York Times today (10/18/10):

For Our China Trade Emergency, Dial Section 301

TEN years ago this fall the Senate sold out American manufacturing. By a vote of 83 to 15, it established so-called permanent normal trade relations with China, paving the way for that country to join the World Trade Organization. As a result, Chinese imports to the United States fell under the same low tariffs and high quotas as those from countries like Canada and Britain.

Today, though, our trade relations with China are anything but normal. The 2000 agreement’s proponents insisted it would enable a billion Chinese consumers to buy American products. Instead, our bilateral trade deficit has increased 170 percent, largely because China has undermined free-market competition through illegal subsidies and currency manipulation.

It reminded me of this FAIR Action Alert at the time of that, uhh, debate:

On Eve of China Vote, Nightline Airs Only One Side


On the night before Congress was to vote on Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for China–the most important trade vote of the year–ABC‘s Nightline devoted its broadcast to a discussion of that issue. That discussion, unfortunately, was one-sidedly partisan: All three of Nightline‘s guests were Republican proponents of PNTR.

Nightline‘s response was basically to saysome things don’t need to be debated–or, as they put it, they “never intended to have a debate on the pending legislation.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.