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Congress tries to finish work Friday on package that includes normalized trade with Vietnam

Congress tries to finish work Friday on package that includes normalized trade with Vietnam

Republican lawmakers pushed through a major tax bill Friday in the House of Representatives, before moving on to a trade measure that includes a measure extending normal trade status to Vietnam.
The trade measures were to become part of a giant package the House was sending to the Senate later in the day.
Whether the Senate could vote on Friday was in doubt, however, because of concern about spending and lingering opposition to trade provisions among senators from states with large textile industries.
If disputes are resolved, the Republican control of Congress, lasting 12 years in the House, would be over, setting the stage for the next Congress to convene in January with Democrats in the majority in both the House and the Senate.
The Vietnam bill would end the Cold War requirement that trade with the communist state be reviewed every year. While supported by the Bush administration, the proposal has run into opposition from critics of Vietnam's human rights record and those worried about the impact on American jobs.
Sen. Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the bill "makes certain that more U.S.-made goods will get into Vietnam's markets."
Republican Rep. David Dreier said the Vietnam measure would encourage economic and political liberalization in the Southeast Asian nation and provide access for American companies hoping to crack a booming market.
Some industry groups, however, are worried Vietnam's heavy subsidies and other trade policies have severely damaged the U.S. textile industry, costing companies billions of dollars and destroying American jobs.
The trade package also would extend or expand trade breaks for Haiti, sub-Saharan Africa and Andean nations, drawing opposition from supporters of the beleaguered U.S. textile industry.
Eight Republican senators on Thursday wrote congressional leaders, saying 100,000 textile jobs in their region had already been lost due to trade agreements. They said they would oppose "as forcefully as possible" the Haiti measure.
Republican President George W. Bush's trade liberalization efforts could face trouble in the next Congress.
Democrats, who will come to power when a new Congress begins Jan. 4, contend the deals often favor U.S. competitors and accuse the Bush administration of doing too little to protect Americans from unfair foreign trade practices.


Updated : 2021-10-17 05:39 GMT+08:00