Press Releases

Hoffa: 20 Years Later, it’s Still Clear Allowing China to Join WTO Was a Mistake

Members rally against PNTR - Washington, DC

Government of World’s Largest Nation is a Serial Violator of Worker, Human Rights

Press Contact: Ted Gotsch Phone: (703) 899-0869 Email:

(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on the 20th anniversary of China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the nation’s continued mistreatment of workers.

“Twenty-two years ago, here in our nation’s capital, I led a column of Teamsters who joined tens of thousands of other labor union members to rally against Permanent Normal Trade Relations with communist China. A convoy of Teamster trucks circled the Capitol, horns honking – while inside our members lobbied Congress – to protest giving America’s best trade benefits to that growing non-market economic regime. We lost that legislative fight, which paved the way for China to join the World Trade Organization, which it did 20 years ago this week.

“We predicted then that Chinese accession to the WTO would undermine America’s manufacturing base as transnational corporate and investment elites moved production to China, and history has proved us right. America’s massive trade deficit with China has cost nearly 4 million American jobs.

“The free traders in both parties hoped that by letting China into the WTO, that regime would change, become more democratic and respect human rights. But history has proved them wrong and China continues to oppress workers and ethnic minorities and activists and advocates for freedom. If anything, China is heading in the wrong direction. Today, December 10th, is Human Rights Day and, on behalf of the 1.4 million members of North America’s ‘supply chain union’, the Teamsters, who have been on the front lines of every fight for fair trade since I was first elected their General President, I call on policymakers and opinion leaders on every continent to join me in condemnation of the anti-worker Chinese regime and the pro-corporate ‘free trade’ economic model that has enabled its oppression and genocide for too long.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at