< Back to H.R. 4306 (106th Congress, 1999–2000)

Text of the Commercial Competitiveness and Labor Rights in China Act of 2000

This bill was introduced on April 13, 2000, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 13, 2000 (Introduced).

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HR 4306 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4306

To provide for commercial and labor rule of law programs in the People’s Republic of China to enhance rationality and accountability in the administration of justice in the commercial area, strengthen labor rights protection, and lay the intellectual and institutional groundwork for further reforms.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 13, 2000

Mr. GEJDENSON (for himself, Mr. BEREUTER, Mr. PORTER, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, and Mrs. LOWEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


A BILL

To provide for commercial and labor rule of law programs in the People’s Republic of China to enhance rationality and accountability in the administration of justice in the commercial area, strengthen labor rights protection, and lay the intellectual and institutional groundwork for further reforms.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Commercial Competitiveness and Labor Rights in China Act of 2000’.

    (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Findings and purpose.

      Sec. 3. Establishment of rule of law programs.

      Sec. 4. Administrative authorities.

      Sec. 5. Prohibition relating to human rights abuses.

      Sec. 6. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS-

      (1) The United States and the People’s Republic of China signed a bilateral agreement on November 15, 1999, on accession of China to the World Trade Organization (hereinafter referred to as the ‘China-WTO Agreement’), under which China made a detailed set of concessions eliminating or limiting tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in order to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

      (2) Under the China-WTO Agreement, the Government of the People’s Republic of China will be required to amend many of its laws, transform its institutions, and change its policies to bring them into conformity with international trade rules.

      (3) Officials of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, both at the national and provincial levels, must interpret and implement the terms and conditions of the China-WTO Agreement and the WTO regime into concrete policies, rules, and regulations--a process which can materially benefit or harm United States companies and their workers.

      (4) The China-WTO Agreement, despite the desperate need in the People’s Republic of China for independent labor unions and other resources which inform workers of their rights and fight against exploitative working conditions, does not require China to make changes in the labor rights area.

      (5) The United States currently provides a small amount of assistance to promote the rule of law in the People’s Republic of China, but does not have authorization to help officials of the Chinese Government to write the laws, rules, and regulations necessary to implement its obligations under the China-WTO Agreement, or to promote better enforcement of labor laws and regulations and respect for core labor rights as developed by the International Labor Organization.

      (6) Major United States trade competitors, including the European Union, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia, have already launched extensive, multi-year rule of law programs in the People’s Republic of China designed to promote rationality and openness in the administration of commercial law as well as to assist the People’s Republic of China in revising its trade and investment laws to make them consistent with the requirements of the WTO, through training programs, workshops, seminars, and exchanges.

      (7) It is critical that the United States aggressively protect its hard-won concessions from the People’s Republic of China relating to WTO membership by ensuring that China--

        (A) writes laws, rules, and regulations that are fair, open, and transparent, and that do not discriminate against United States commercial interests; and

        (B) revises and expands existing labor legislation to bring labor laws into compliance with internationally-recognized core labor standards, as defined by the International Labor Organization, and as noted in the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

      (8) Over the last eight years, the Commercial Law Development Division of the United States Department of Commerce has dispatched United States lawyers to developing countries to help such countries improve their laws and institutions in order to promote economic reform and compliance with international trade regimes.

      (9) Extending commercial and labor rule of law programs in the People’s Republic of China will further United States national interests even if the Government of China continues to impede the development of the rule of law in others aspects of Chinese society.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to establish commercial and labor rule of law programs in the People’s Republic of China to enhance rationality and accountability in the administration of justice in the commercial area, strengthen labor rights protection, and lay the intellectual and institutional groundwork for further reforms.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF RULE OF LAW PROGRAMS.

    (a) COMMERCIAL RULE OF LAW PROGRAM-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, is authorized to establish a program to conduct rule of law training and technical assistance related to commercial activities in the People’s Republic of China.

      (2) ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE- The Secretary of State shall provide foreign policy guidance to the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that the program established under paragraph (1) is effectively integrated into the foreign policy of the United States.

    (b) LABOR RULE OF LAW PROGRAM-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, is authorized to establish a program to conduct rule of law training and technical assistance related to labor activities in the People’s Republic of China.

      (2) LIMITATION- The Secretary of State shall not provide assistance under the program authorized by paragraph (1) to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

    (c) CONDUCT OF PROGRAMS- The programs authorized by this section may be used to conduct activities such as seminars and workshops, drafting of commercial and labor codes, legal training, publications, financing the operating costs for nongovernmental organizations working in this area, and funding the travel of individuals to the United States and to the People’s Republic of China to provide and receive training.

SEC. 4. ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES.

    In carrying out the programs authorized by section 3, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of State may utilize any of the authorities contained in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Foreign Service Act of 1980.

SEC. 5. PROHIBITION RELATING TO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.

    Amounts made available to carry out this Act may not be provided to a component of a ministry or other administrative unit of the national, provincial, or other local governments of the People’s Republic of China, to a nongovernmental organization, or to an official of such governments or organizations, if the President has credible evidence that such component, administrative unit, organization or official has been materially responsible for the commission of human rights violations.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) COMMERCIAL LAW PROGRAM- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce to carry out the program described in section 3(a) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2001 and each subsequent fiscal year.

    (b) LABOR LAW PROGRAM- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State to carry out the program described in section 3(b) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2001 and each subsequent fiscal year.

    (c) CONSTRUCTION WITH OTHER LAWS- Except as provided in this Act, funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in this section may be obligated or expended notwithstanding any other provision of law.