Rep Smith moves to block China from normal trade relations with US

FOX Business Flash top headlines for March 22

Here are your FOX Business Flash top headlines for March 22.

FIRST ON FOX: New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith introduced legislation this week to block China from engaging in normal trade relations with the U.S. as "punishment" for its human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by New York Democrat Rep. Tom Suozzi and Wisconsin Republican Tom Tiffany, would transform the U.S. trade with one of its top business partners.  

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Biden in an undated file photo.  (Tim Rue/Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"The Chinese Communist Party has gotten a pass for its gross human rights violations while benefiting tremendously by stealing American jobs and growing into the economic superpower it is today," Smith said in a Tuesday statement to Fox News Digital.

It is unclear how exactly the U.S.-China trade partnership would be impacted, but in 2020 China stood as the U.S.’s largest goods trading partner with more than $559 billion exchanged, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The U.S. exported more than $124 billion in goods to Beijing in 2020, while it imported nearly $435 billion. 

The bipartisan legislation would also require the president to approve whether China has taken steps to "significantly progress" and improve its human rights record and stop its oppressive behavior against all Chinese nationals before it could again receive permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

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Custom officials check documents with a man at a container port in Yantai in eastern China’s Shandong province on Tuesday. (AP/Chinatopix / Associated Press)

Smith repeatedly condemned the International Olympic Committee’s decision to hold the Winter Games in Beijing and argued corporations that refused to pull their support for the games were financing the CCP’s abusive regime.

 "Tragically, American corporations—from Nike to the NBA—still look the other way while Xi Jinping’s communist regime is committing systematic genocide and crushing religious freedom," said Smith. "What will it take?"

Smith’s legislation is similar to a bill that overwhelmingly passed the House last week, which called for Russia’s normalized trade ties with the U.S. to be stripped over its deadly invasion of Ukraine. 

China has received wide criticism for its refusal to condemn Russia over its illegal invasion and insistence that the U.S. and NATO need to discuss Moscow’s security concerns. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Chinese President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting on Nov. 13, 2019 in Brasilia, Brazil. ( Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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"China’s support for Russia — which itself is likely to lose PNTR status due to Putin's aggression against Ukraine — has made this reappraisal of granting China preferential trade treatment especially timely," Smith said.

"Many if not most business and political leaders have long bought into the ‘China Fantasy’ that overlooks human rights abuses while asserting that increased trade will make China more like us," the congressman added. "It was not true then and it's not true now."

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