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House Minority leader Richard Gephardt betrayed his committment to the high-tech community when he came out in opposition to Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. The United States has an incredible opportunity to open the Chinese markets for American goods and services; sadly, Gephardt and others in Congress are willing to throw this opportunity out the window.
China is the largest market in the world, but if Americans want to compete in the Chinese marketplace, their goods and services face high protectionist tariffs from the Chinese government. Permanent Normal Trade Relations would force the Chinese government to eliminate these tariffs and allow American companies to compete on a fair and level playing field in China.
Gephardt and others raise the specter of human rights violations and other social grievances. While China's record on human rights is abysmal, the solution is not to turn our backs on the Chinese people, but to do everything in our power to ensure they that they have the broadest exposure to American ideals and principles as possible. Talking about trade with China, Pat Robertson said: "We do so not merely for business advantage, but for the sake of free hearts and free minds. In truth, we do so for the future of the U.S. and the future of the world."
Gephardt and the Democratic party claim to be allies of the high-tech community, and they certainly take enough of their money. However, time and time again on issues of critical importance, not just for the high-tech community, but for the entire American economy, they have turned their backs and voted with the special interests.