Major US environmental group opposes China NTR status

Author: Steve Usdin

2000/04/10

WASHINGTON (CNI)--The Sierra Club, one of the largest environmental advocacy organizations in the US, announced Monday that it has launched a campaign to block the granting of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China.

Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope said that his organisation will work with the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labour organisation, to persuade Congress to reject PNTR for China.

The Sierra Club and the AFL-CIO plan to jointly organise events around the US to build grassroots support for their campaign, Pope and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told reporters.

The Sierra Club sent a letter to members of Congress Monday outlining its concerns. "Despite recent statements by President Clinton affirming the importance of linking environmental protection and workers rights with new commercial agreements, the US-China trade pact is bereft of any provisions whatsoever on these concerns," the Sierra Club letter states.

In addition to specific concerns about China’s human rights record and its failure to prohibit trade in endangered species, the Sierra Club warns that China’s entry into the WTO could make it the organisation less responsive to environmental issues.

The granting of PNTR for China would trigger wide scale reductions in Chinese tariffs and other impediments to US chemicals exports to the giant Asian nation.