China said Thursday it is ready to sacrifice its most-favored-nation trade status with the United States and will not bow to pressure on trade, human rights and weapons proliferation.
"The Chinese side will never accept the attachment of various conditions to the extension of the most-favored-nation treatment," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Jianmin said.Deterioration of bilateral relations "is nothing to be afraid of. China is prepared for it," he said. He did not elaborate on China's preparations.
It was the most strongly worded statement yet about U.S. attempts to link political issues to its annual decision on whether to renew most-favored-nation status for China.
Trade experts say lifting the special trade status could wipe out most bilateral trade by making Chinese goods too expensive in the United States to compete.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Robert Kimmitt told Chinese leaders Monday that China's human rights record, unfair trade practices and weapons proliferations will all be considered.
President Bush has until June 3 to report to Congress on whether he recommends renewal. Congress can vote to deny it. The most-favored-nation trade status grants Chinese imports the lowest possible tariffs.