April 21, 2021

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Cardin Amendment to Help Countries Facing Economic Coercion from China

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), along with Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Ind.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to create a pilot program to deploy economic crisis action teams to countries facing economic coercion, including threats from China. These teams of experts have the ability to review, at the invitation of U.S. allies and partners, contracts including those that are a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. This is a powerful tool that will allow the United States to go on the offensive against the most destructive aspects of China’s economic practices. The amendment approved was included as part of the larger Strategic Competition Act of 2021, legislation to mobilize all United States strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that enables the U.S. government to compete effectively with the People’s Republic of China and the challenges it poses to our national and economic security for decades to come.

“China has been using its financial power and connections to expand its scope of influence in America and around the world for years,” said Cardin. “Our amendment will strengthen the ability of the U.S. to counter strategic and economic threats to our allies and our own national security.”

“As China’s influence continues to grow around the world, the time is now for the United States to exercise leadership by protecting our international allies and partners,” said Portman. “Passage of this amendment will help provide critical support at a critical time on a global scale to help meet this challenge.”

“As we’ve seen over the last decade, the Chinese Communist Party does not hesitate to inflict economic pain on countries that don’t show deference to Beijing’s political interests,” said Risch. “It’s time to make sure we have the tools we need to provide tangible support and collaboration to countries facing this type of coercion. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this amendment to the Strategic Competition Act.”

The support that these teams will be able to provide include:

  • Reducing a partner country’s vulnerability to coercive economic measures
  • Minimizing the damage that such measures cause
  • Implementing bilateral or multilateral contingency plans to mitigate negative effects of coercive measures
  • Identifying vulnerability gaps with a partner country and improving responses
  • Providing direct short to medium term economic or other assistance from the United States and partners in support of effective measures
  • Assisting the partner country in responding to malign efforts in the cyber domain, including efforts that undermine cybersecurity and addressing foreign technologies that undermine freedom, security, and sovereignty of the partner country