President Carter and Chinese Vice President Bo Yibo signed a series of trade and commercial agreements yesterday to open the door to closer and expanding economic ties.
Administration officials said the agreements, which cover airline service, textile imports, cargo shipments and consular relations, should permit trade between the two countries to increase from its present $4-billion-a-year rate to $10 billion by 1985.
Carter, presiding at a full-dress Rose Garden ceremony, called the occasion a foreign-policy triumph for his administration, seeming to invite a comparison with the China policy of his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, a longtime supporter of Taiwan.
With the agreements, "The normalization of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China is at last complete," Carter said. "You are among friends," he said to Bo and the Chinese delegation. "I am personally committed, Mr. Vice Premier, to the proposition that our relationship will not be undermined, but strengthened."
The White House noted yesterday that the ties extend to defense as well as commercial interests, saying that a number of contracts may be signed soon for the sale of U.S.-built radar and other military support equipment to China. t"At the moment, our policy is not to sell arms to China," an administation spokesman said. But a Defense Department mission is in China now discussing that question.
The agreements signed yesterday conclude negotiations that began in the spring of 1979 and result in the following:
Each of the two countries can designate one airline to operate on a route between New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tokyo, Shanghai and Peking (another Japanese city may be substituted for Tokyo). The Civil Aeronautics Board is expected to select the U.S. airline this year from among eight competitors.
A second route between the two countries will be discussed two years after the initial airline service begins. Although U.S. airlines have provided charter service to China, there have been no regularly scheduled flights.
China's rapidly growing textile exports to the United States will be regulated by quotas on six specific cotton and wool apparel items and a procedure for dealing with import problems on other textile goods.
The agreement replaces a set of textile quotas unilaterally imposed by the United States last year to control a surge in Chinese exports.
The new import limits affect cotton gloves and certain categories of shirts, blouses, trousers and sweaters.
A comprehensive maritime agreement opens each nation's ports to the other's vessels and remove obstacles to maritime commerce between the United States and China. Chinese-flag vessels will be granted access to 55 U.S. ports on short notice, while U.S. vessels will have comparable privileges in 20 Chinese ports. The agreement also calls for expanded transport of U.S. cargo in Chinese ships, and vice versa.
The first consular agreement between the two countries spells out the protections and services that consular officers can provide citizens of both nations. The agreement expands and clarifies the general consular understanding that China and the United States reached in January 1979.
The United States has consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou, and China has opened consulates in San Francisco and Houston. The new agreement permits each country to open three additional consulates, and China has selected Honolulu, Chicago and New York. The U.S. hasn't chosen additional cities in China.
The textile agreement settles what has been the touchiest economic issue between the two countries. Imports of cotton gloves, for example, reached 4 million pair in 1979, leading the administation to impose a quota of 35 million pair. The agreement will permit transportation of 38.6 million pair this year, with an annual increase of about 3 percent in each of the next two years. y
China is the leading exporter of cotton gloves to the United States and is second or third in the categories of cotton blouses, trousers and shirts covered by the agreement.