China and the WTO: Labor Issues [Updated July 21, 2000]   [open pdf - 63KB]

"China's prospective membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) raises issues among some U.S. workers and organized labor about job and wage security. Many labor groups argue that Mexico's threat to U.S. jobs and wages since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be dwarfed by China's threat as a result of closer economic ties. China's average manufacturing wages, at about $0.25 per hour, are about one-fifth as great as Mexico's, and about one-fiftieth as much as total compensation for manufacturing workers in the United states. China's labor force is 18 times that of Mexico and five times that of the United States. Most business groups argue that U.S. businesses in China pay much higher than average wages, that free trade creates both "winners" and "losers," and that China's WTO accession will greatly expand U.S. exports and jobs. On May 24, 2000, the House passed H.R. 4444 granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China. It would also set up a Congressional-Executive Commission to monitor Beijing's human rights compliance and codify anti-surge protection measures contained in the U.S.-China bilateral agreement. Related legislation includes proposals for an expanded adjustment assistance program for workers displaced from their jobs by possible increased trade with China. The Senate is not likely to vote on its version of PNTR legislation (S. 2277) until September." -- Summary

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS20582
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Media Type:
Help with citations