Reps. Bera and Wagner Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Counter Beijing’s Economic Coercion
WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) today introduced the Countering China Economic Coercion Act with a bipartisan group of leaders to establish the first-ever interagency task force to respond to the People’s Republic of China’s growing economic coercion against governments, businesses, organizations, and individuals.
“We have seen the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Government increasingly use nefarious and coercive economic practices to punish countries, private entities, and organizations for pursuing policies that Beijing deems counter to its interests,” said Representative Bera, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation. “As China continues to threaten our partners in the Indo-Pacific and our own national security and economic well-being with its coercive measures, the U.S. government needs to better understand Beijing’s tactics. The bipartisan Countering China Economic Coercion Act will create an interagency taskforce to streamline U.S. tools and mechanisms for deterring and addressing Beijing’s economic coercion and expand cooperation with the private sector as well as U.S. allies and partners on this important matter. The legislation will raise awareness of the scale and scope of the PRC’s coercive economic measures and strengthen our collective ability to hold China accountable.”
“The People’s Republic of China’s heavy-handed and predatory economic policies harm our partners and undermine American interests well beyond the Indo-Pacific region. Our efforts to respond to PRC economic coercion must be strategic, measured, and proactive," said Representative Wagner. "I am proud to join Representative Bera in introducing this bipartisan bill to ensure that the United States is working in a coordinated and comprehensive way to combat China’s economic bullying.”
The People’s Republic of China has used coercive economic practices against key U.S. partners and allies over the past decade. In 2010, the PRC halted shipments of rare earth elements to Japan during a standoff over a clash between the Japan Coast Guard and a Chinese fishing vessel in disputed waters in the East China Sea. Following South Korea’s 2016 decision to join the United States in deploying a U.S. missile defense system to defend against North Korean missile threats, the PRC restricted South Korean entertainment and other cultural exports, banned the sale of certain South Korean household products, and restricted tourism between the two countries. After the government of Australia called for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in 2020, the PRC retaliated by imposing tariffs on Australian wine and barley exports.
The Countering China Economic Coercion Act requires the President to establish a “Countering Economic Coercion Task Force” chaired by a National Security Council member selected by the President and composed of Assistant Secretary-level principles from relevant U.S. Departments and agencies. The Primary duties of the Task Force includes: developing and implementing a U.S. strategy to respond to the PRC’s economic coercion; monitoring and evaluating costs of the PRC’s economic coercion and impact on U.S. national interests; facilitating coordination across agencies and information-sharing with private sector and U.S. allies and partners; and publishing and routinely updating a public list of cases of economic coercion from the PRC.
In addition, the legislation establishes an annual reporting requirement that includes, among other things; a review of economic coercion tools the PRC could employ in the future, a review of the economic and diplomatic tools the U.S. employs or could employ to respond to China’s economic coercion, and an assessment of areas where U.S. allies and partners are vulnerable to Beijing’s economic coercion.
Cosponsors of the Countering China Economic Coercion Act include Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Juan Vargas (D-CA).