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Congressional Research Service, China-US Trade, November 19, 1981

This CRS report was originally written in 1975 and was updated in 1981. It was produced by George D. Holliday and John P. Hardt.
November 19, 1981

Issue Definition

The improved political relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), initiated by the Nixon Administration and furthered by the Carter Administration's decision to establish diplomatic relations, has spurred a rapid increase in Sino-U.S. trade. While still small relative to overall U.S. foreign trade, the volume of trade represents an abrupt shift from the no-trade policy that had been pursued since 1950. Despite the rapid expansion, outstanding issues remain as serious barriers to normalized trade. Resolution of those issues may require concession or accommodations by the Chinese leadership as well as action by both the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch. However, the development of a new approach to foreign economic relations by the post-Mao Chinese leadership and the establishment of diplomatic relations have laid the ground work for a further expansion of commercial relations.

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