Sens. Brown, Toomey introduce bill to address concerns related to China

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The leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs have introduced legislation that addresses national security concerns related to China.

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The Meeting the China Challenge Act of 2021, introduced by Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA), urges intensified use of existing sanctions authorities against Chinese violators on Hong Kong, human rights, cyber espionage, illicit trade with North Korea, fentanyl production and distribution, and other issues.

Further, the bill provides for broad new mandatory sanctions on Chinese actors who steal intellectual property from U.S. firms or are engaged in cyberattacks against the United States.

In addition, the Brown-Toomey bill highlights the need for new anti-money laundering and corporate transparency laws to combat China’s abuses of anonymous shell companies. It also provides for a review of export controls on items that could be used to support human rights abuses in China and urges firms to adopt a corporate code of conduct for operating in China.

“Our recent China policy has been haphazard, ad hoc, and ineffective. China must not be allowed to undermine American national interests or those of our allies,” Brown said. “This amendment will better enable President Biden to hold China accountable by imposing real economic costs and responding directly to aggressive Chinese behavior with a broad range of political, diplomatic, and economic – including sanctions – tools.”

The amendment also mandates new Congressional reporting requirements on a range of issues, including whether Chinese state-owned enterprises engaged in malign behavior have recently received U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance.

“Congress should defend our national security and our economy from the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” Toomey said. “This bill imposes mandatory sanctions on Chinese entities that steal American intellectual property and engage in cyberattacks against the U.S. It also strengthens export controls on items used by the CCP to commit genocide against Uyghurs and suppress freedoms in Hong Kong. It will require our government to investigate whether U.S. taxpayers are unwittingly providing federal assistance through the Export-Import Bank to Chinese state-owned enterprises engaged in misconduct.”

Brown and Toomey will work to include this amendment in the Endless Frontier Act, which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

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