Washington [US], March 19 (ANI): US Republican lawmakers on Thursday (local time) reintroduced a bill to revoke the permanent normal trading status that Washington has had with Beijing for the past 20 years.
Citing China as the reason for the loss of US manufacturing jobs and accusing the country of forced labour, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Florida's Rick Scott put forward the "China Trade Relations Act", which would require the US president to approve regular trade relations annually. The bill would also give Congress the power to override the president's decision, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
China has supercharged the loss of American manufacturing jobs and it is time to protect American jobs and hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for their forced labour camps and egregious human rights violations, said Cotton.
Cotton and other lawmakers that have made efforts to punish China for its policies have maintained pressure on US President Joe Biden's administration to keep an aggressive posture towards Beijing.
The legislation is being introduced just as the new US administration prepares for the first high-level meetings with Beijing.
Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi will hold a meeting in Alaska's Anchorage with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
The Permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status was passed by Congress and signed into law by then-president Bill Clinton in 2000, allowing the two sides to align the bilateral trade relationship with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was originally sold as a way to bring China more in line with political and economic norms, reported SCMP.
Five years later, then-deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick, under Clinton's successor George W Bush, argued that deepening trade with China and bringing the country further into the international system would make Beijing a "responsible stakeholder".
However, Washington has become increasingly frustrated with Beijing's policies on trade and human rights front.
According to SCMP, Cotton, Inhofe and Scott have sponsored or supported numerous bills targeting China in recent years, as bilateral relations deteriorated rapidly under former president Donald Trump.
Cotton and Scott also sponsored the "Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act" passed by Trump last year, which requires foreign companies listed in the US to submit audited financials for review by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) within three years.
Last month, the House of Representatives reintroduced legislation banning the import of all goods sourced in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, over concerns of widespread, state-backed forced labour there. (ANI)