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September 17, 2020


Cotton Introduces Bill to End China’s Permanent Most-Favored-Nation Status


Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced a bill that would strip China of its permanent most-favored-nation status—also known as Permanent Normal Trade Relations—a designation it has held for the last twenty years. If passed, the legislation would make extending most-favored-nation status to China an annual decision for Congress and the president.


 The bill text may be found here.


"Twenty years ago this week, the Senate gave a gift to the Chinese Communist Party by granting it permanent most-favored-nation status. That disastrous decision made the Party richer, but cost millions of American jobs. It’s time to protect American workers and take back our leverage over Beijing by withdrawing China’s permanent trade status,” said Cotton.




·      The Senate voted to give China permanent most-favored-nation status on September 19, 2000. This vote paved the way for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

·      Granting China this trade status contributed to the “China Trade Shock” that destroyed 2 million American jobs after 2001. It also led to a surge of business investment in China that made the CCP stronger and more dangerous.


The China Trade Relations Act


·      The China Trade Relations Act would revoke China’s permanent most-favored-nation status and return to the pre-2001 status quo, whereby China’s MFN status must be renewed each year by presidential decision. Congress could override the president’s extension of MFN by passing a joint resolution of disapproval.

·      The bill also would expand the list of human-rights and trade abuses under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment that would disqualify China for MFN status, absent a presidential waiver. The abuses that would make China ineligible for MFN status, absent a presidential waiver, are as follows:

o   Uses or provides for the use of slave labor;

o   Operates ‘vocational training and education centers’ or other concentration camps where people are held against their will;

o   Performs or otherwise orders forced abortion or sterilization procedures;

o   Harvests the organs of prisoners without their consent;

o   Hinders the free exercise of religion;

o   Intimidates or harasses nationals of the People’s Republic of China living outside the People’s Republic of China; or

o   Engages in systematic economic espionage against the United States, including theft of the intellectual property of United States persons