The issue is close to the American wallet: China, one of the U.S.'s most important trading partners, is getting a lot more out of the current deal. America's anticipated trade deficit with China will be $60 billion this year. Which is why, despite his disappointment over lack of progress on the issue during his visit to Beijing, Clinton stressed that "we'll keep on working at it until we reach a commercially viable agreement." At least his hosts gave him a taste of the action on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, where he was presented with a red trader's vest bearing the number "1998."
SHANGHAI: President Clinton's enthusiasm for the changes sweeping China was tempered by some pointed remarks on trade Wednesday. "China's economy is still burdened with complicated and overlapping barriers," he complained while addressing a group of American businessmen. The President expressed disappointment that no agreements on trade disputes had been reached during his Beijing visit, and warned that for China to achieve its coveted membership of the World Trade Organization it will have to free up its economy to trade and investment.