China warns against proposed US bill

Beijing, February 14:

China said today a proposed bill by two US senators that aims to repeal the Asian nation’s normal trade relation status would only harm growing bilateral economic ties.

“The proposed bill by the American senators is harmful for the development of our relationship, it damages our countries’ trading and economic partnership,” the ministry of foreign affairs said in a written statement, “We are completely opposed to the bill.”

The US Congress granted China the permanent normal trade relations status in 2000, paving the way for it to enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and for US businesses to deal more directly with Beijing.

Byron Dorgan and Lindsey Graham, who proposed the legislation late last week, said the status should be rescinded in retaliation for China’s unfair trade practices.

They said China’s trade tactics, including keeping the yuan artificially weak, were responsible for the huge US trade deficit with China, which is expected to surpass $200 billion in 2005.

The lawmakers have not said when they plan to debate or push for a vote on the bill but the move comes as US president George W Bush prepares to welcome his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, for an official visit in April.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Developmentsaid that China is spending too little on education, science and medicine, as it urged major changes in government spending.

Job shortage

BEIJING: China’s cities are facing serious employment problems with only 11 million new urban jobs expected to be created this year but 25 million people needing to find work. The National Development and Reform Commission, the government’s main economic planning department, said the shortage of 14 million jobs was around one million more than last year. “It will be a tough challenge to tackle employment pressure,” the commission said. — AFP