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September 19, 2000

Governor Applauds Senate Vote On China Trade

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today commended the United States Senate for approving Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China.

"Today's vote to bring China into the World Trade Organization offers Illinois farmers, companies, and small businesses a greater opportunity to increase exports to China. New trade and investment opportunities mean increased employment and an improved standard of living for Illinois families," said Governor Ryan.

Last year Illinois exported nearly $850 million worth of products to mainland China. During the first two quarters of this year, Illinois exports to China have topped $442 million, making the country the state's ninth largest trading partner.

"Under the legislation that passed Congress, we expect our exports to China will increase significantly," said Pam McDonough, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA). "As tariffs on things like machinery, computers and telecommunications equipment come down, leading Illinois companies such as Caterpillar and Motorola will have an easier time selling their products in China."

For the Illinois farmer, increased trade with China is crucial. During the first half of 2000, more than $157 million worth of agricultural products from Illinois were shipped to China. That number is also expected to increase as a result of passage of PNTR for China.

"This agreement will drastically lower tariffs on agricultural products and level the playing field for trade with China," said Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton. "Almost 60 percent of our farm products go to oversees markets, so the introduction of a market of 1.3 billion people stands to have a positive impact on commodity prices."

When China's accession into the WTO is complete the following tariff reductions will benefit Illinois companies:

  • Reduction to zero tariffs on all semiconductors, computers and equipment, telecommunications equipment and other information technology products by 2005.

  • A 50% tariff reduction on heavy equipment.

  • Tariff reduction on chemicals and related products from 35% to 5.5-6.5%.

  • Tariff reduction on U.S. agricultural commodities down to 14.5% from 30%.

"The bottom line is that Illinois competes in a global economy. Any time barriers to free trade are lowered, the people of Illinois benefit," Governor Ryan added.


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