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Thursday, February 17, 2000, updated at 13:17(GMT+8)
World U.S. Will Regret for 20 years if China Trade Deal not Approved: Bill Clinton

The United States will regret for 20 years if Congress fails to vote for the trade deal with China on the country's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Wednesday.

"I'm going to push this as hard as I can. I want to get the earliest possible vote I can. And I cannot tell you how important I think it is," Clinton told a press conference at the White House.

After years of negotiations, the United States and China signed an agreement that set a stage for China's accession to WTO last November. The agreement needs to be approved by the U.S. Congress.

Urging Congress to approve the legislation, Clinton said the issue is "a huge national security issue," citing reasons that it will help reduce U.S. trade deficits with China; China will cooperate more in other international forums.

"I think that if we -- if we didn't do this, we would be regretting it for 20 years," Clinton told reporters.

"And I think 10 years from now we'll look back, and no matter decisions China makes, we'll say the only thing we could control is what we did, and what we did was the right, the honorable and the smart thing to do for America over the long run," he added.

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