A group of Republican senators introduced the Strengthening Trade, Regional Alliances, Technology, and Economic and Geopolitical Initiatives Concerning China (STRATEGIC) Act to advance a comprehensive strategy for U.S. competition with China. The legislation, introduced July 22, is co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Jim Risch, R-Ind., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Todd Young, R-Ind.
“The Chinese Communist Party is re-shaping the international order to benefit authoritarian regimes and directly undermine American and democratic interests,” Sen. Risch, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. “That is why we have introduced the first comprehensive package of legislation that provides a U.S. strategy that will safeguard our interests, and those of our allies and partners, and retain our position as a global leader. It is my intent and hope that this legislation will provide a blueprint to advance bipartisan cooperation in all aspects of the competition with China in 2020, and beyond.”
If passed, the legislation would:
- “Tackle China’s economic practices that distort global markets and hurt U.S. businesses, especially IP theft and mass government subsidization and sponsorship of Chinese companies.
- Confront tech competition by increasing technology collaboration with allies and partners.
- Safeguard institutions from malign and undue PRC influence.
- Strengthen U.S. posture in the Indo-Pacific to protect its interests, allies, and partners.
- Prioritize cooperation over conflict when possible on areas such as arms control, North Korea, and the environment, if the PRC demonstrates good faith and transparency.”
“Addressing the threat that China poses to our fundamental values of freedom, human rights, and free enterprise is the central challenge facing us in the 21st century,” said Sen. Romney. “We must take decisive action now to confront China’s growing aggression and dissuade them from their predatory efforts. This legislation develops additional tools to help us understand China’s intent, guard against China’s malign influence, and safeguard our interests.”
During a July 22 Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ranking Member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., acknowledge the STRATEGIC Act and said Democrats were working on their bill.
“I know the Chairman has introduced legislation today on China. I welcome his effort,” Menendez said during his opening remarks. “I am also working with colleagues on a bill to create a comprehensive China strategy, crosscutting jurisdictions beyond and including this committee, including trade and economic issues and investments here at home, which we plan to shortly introduce.”
Menendez lobbed a political shot at President Trump’s relationship with China, “Given the shortcomings of President Trump’s ‘all bluster and tactics, no strategy’ approach to China, a comprehensive and integrated approach is needed.” He also said that he “suspect[s] that there will be many areas of agreement between my bill and the Chairman’s, and so look forward to working with him on a combined approach.”