GOP Candidates Oppose Chinese Membership In WTO

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - As participants in The World Trade Organization (WTO) get ready for Tuesday's opening session at least two GOP presidential candidates have said they are opposed to mainland China's membership in the group.

Gary Bauer said in Washington, "Giving China membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the wrong agreement, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons."

GOP candidate Steve Forbes has called on the WTO member nations to not make concessions to China in order for the country to the join the trade group. "I don't believe China should be admitted to WTO on concessionary terms, as if it were a Third World nation," Forbes said recently in a campaign speech to the Pierce County Republicans in Tacoma, Washington. "It's one of the largest economies in the world. We should say to China, 'you've got to do more.'"

Forbes said with the discovery of China's theft of U.S. military secrets, reports of human rights violations and heightened tensions with Taiwan that "China [should be held] to the same standards to which all other nations are held. We need a strong and honest China policy, not a sellout." Forbes has also stated in recent campaign appearances that the Chinese must remove trade barriers to foreign products, particularly U.S. goods, before it can be admitted to the WTO.

Bauer cited China's unwillingness to follow previous trade agreements as a significant reason to deny China membership into WTO. "China has shown no willingness to abide by the trade agreements it has signed in the past. The WTO, by making all possible retaliation against China, multilateral in nature, gives the US and US companies even less leverage over Chinese compliance than we have today," Bauer said.

"It is the wrong time because never, even in the worst days of Maoism, has China had a more belligerent attitude toward its peaceful neighbors, especially Taiwan, or toward those of its citizens who refuse to abide by the party line," said Bauer. "To award Beijing its long sought prize of WTO membership at a time when it is engaged in a crash build up of missiles aimed at Taiwan is a colossal error. A Chinese war of aggression in East Asia is the gravest threat to US national security that presently exists."

It is the "wrong time," said Bauer "because in ignoring China's rapidly increasing threats of war and persecution of its own people, the Clinton-Gore administration and its Republican fellow travelers are telling the world that money is the only thing America really cares about. It is a worldwide invitation to dictators, and would be dictators, that bullying of smaller neighbors and one's own people will evoke no American protests so long as trade routes remain open."

One of the Republican fellow travelers, Bauer cited, included "the frontrunner for my party's presidential nomination", a veiled criticism at Governor George W Bush of Texas who currently leads opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination.