Microsoft Praises Senate Passage of China Trade Bill

Microsoft Praises Senate Passage of China Trade Bill

Company Says Bill Would Strengthen Global Trading System, Benefit Chinese Consumers And Expand Opportunities for Businesses Worldwide

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 19, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today welcomed the U.S. Senate vote to establish permanent normal trade relations between China and the United States, saying that it believes the decision will provide enormous opportunities and benefits for Chinese consumers and businesses around the world.

“Having spent the past two days discussing the future of technology in China with students, government officials and business leaders, I am particularly pleased that the Senate has agreed with the House and voted to grant China permanent normal trade relations,”
said Steve Ballmer, president and CEO of Microsoft Corp.
“Today’s vote is great news for the American economy. Free trade with China will help narrow our trade imbalance, create additional jobs here at home, and continue to spur innovation in America’s high-tech industry.”

The success of America’s software industry is built in large part upon the export of American-produced software overseas. More than half of the U.S. software industry’s revenues are generated abroad. U.S. software exports will reduce America’s trade imbalance by $20 billion this year alone, and for every $1 billion generated by software exports, 22,000 new jobs will be created here at home.

The vote today to grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to China will allow the United States to join with other countries of the world to welcome China into the world trading system, making the entire system more stable and secure. Furthermore, China’s accession to the WTO, expected later this year, will allow the global economy to benefit from a fast-growing Chinese marketplace that now boasts more than 1.2 billion citizens.

“Microsoft welcomes the vote by the U.S. Senate to grant China permanent normal trade relations,”
said Michael Rawding, Microsoft’s regional director for Greater China.
“The opening of markets through China’s accession to the WTO and the granting of PNTR status to China will further enhance China’s booming technology market and provide for greater investment and research opportunities for technology companies.”

“Microsoft is making significant investments in China because we believe in its future,”
added Rawding.
“It is not only a place for Microsoft to do business, but an opportunity to gain new insights and ideas from China’s deep pool of intellectual capital about how technology can improve people’s lives.”

Microsoft has committed significant levels of investment in China over recent years, including the establishment of Microsoft Research, Microsoft Research and Development and the Asia Customer Support Center in Shanghai. Microsoft Research China opened in Beijing in 1998 and is one of two international research facilities operated by Microsoft. The Beijing research facility employs nearly 100 highly skilled researchers who work closely with local universities and research institutes, as well as the Chinese government, to support China in its development of a strong information-technology industry.

“Consumers and businesses are set to benefit most from China’s accession to the WTO. By the end of next year China will probably rank as the third largest market in the world for PCs, and Internet connectivity is expected to double to more than 20 million,”
said Rawding.

Microsoft foresees an enormous growth in the digital economy in China — and Asia as a whole — due to the opening of the market. The Asian market is expected to account for 14 percent of the world’s business-to-business e-commerce, growing at an estimated rate of 150 percent through 2004. Business-to-business e-commerce worldwide is expected to grow to $7 trillion in the next four years, and business-to-business sales in Asia are expected to reach $1 trillion within the next five years.

“China’s WTO accession will help promote the development of a truly global Internet and worldwide electronic commerce, and allow closer contact between Chinese and American businesses and citizens,”
said Rawding.

According to Rawding, China’s accession to the WTO will also provide for greater protection of intellectual property. Under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), China must enact strong copyright laws and establish effective enforcement systems, including taking criminal action against commercial pirates.

“The inclusion of China within the WTO’s framework of multilateral rules and obligations is the single best instrument available to ensure continued improvement in China’s protection of intellectual property,”
Rawding said.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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