The automotive aftermarket is a giant step closer to helping shape the emergence of the Chinese aftermarket with the historic passage of legislation by the House of Representatives to normalize trade relations with China, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) announced today.

AAIA (formerly APAA and ASIA), its member companies and affiliated state associations have for years been instrumental in achieving significant concessions in the market-opening agreement. Most recently AAIA mounted a lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill and at the grass roots level to win congressional passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China.

The agreement, which is headed for a likely Senate approval, includes many AAIA-backed trade and investment opportunities that would cut China's automotive product tariffs, abolish local content rules, and permit the trading and distribution rights needed for U.S. companies' entree into the lucrative Chinese automotive aftermarket.

"We are witnessing a historical landmark victory for the automotive aftermarket and one that our association played a key leadership role in winning," said Gene Gardner, AAIA president. "After 13 years of negotiating, the aftermarket is just a Senate vote away from officially opening the door to China's huge and growing consumer market. We are grateful to our colleagues in the industry who had worked alongside APAA and ASIA and with AAIA this past last year and, of course, we thank our friends in Congress."

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) is a Bethesda, Md.- based association whose member companies manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials and supplies. The organization is comprised of manufacturers, distributors, jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturer's representatives and other companies doing business in the automotive aftermarket. AAIA formerly served the automotive aftermarket as APAA and ASIA.

Note: A copy of this news release is available electronically at the AAIA World Wide Web site at www.aftermarket.org