April 21, 2021

Van Hollen Secures Key Priorities in Foreign Relations Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill on China

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced the inclusion of two key priorities he put forward within the Strategic Competition Act – bipartisan, comprehensive legislation on China passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. Senator Van Hollen is an original cosponsor of the legislation and of the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, introduced by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The Senator’s first amendment would address the substantial imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China across a number of sectors, including treatment of diplomatic personnel, press freedoms, business operations, and trade and education policies – and mirrors his bipartisan legislation with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). The Senator’s second amendment would require the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to submit to Congress a strategy for digital investment that includes support for information-connectivity projects and prioritizes projects of strategic importance to the United States.

“For too long the United States has been playing defense on China – it’s time for our nation to adopt a proactive, whole-of-government strategy. I’m glad to join my colleagues in working to develop and implement a plan to meet the challenges China presents,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The Chinese government has benefited from applying a double standard to the relations between our two countries – exploiting our openness and transparency while refusing to extend reciprocal treatment to the United States – denying our diplomats, businesses, media, and other organizations similar benefits. My amendment adopted today will help end this lopsided approach by identifying all the areas where we are put at a disadvantage and by developing a coherent strategy to close these gaps,” the Senator added.

“In order to maintain our global strategic influence, we must also work to improve our deployment of U.S. innovation and digital technologies around the world. My amendment to require a national strategy developed by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will help us do just that, countering the outsized influence China has gained in developing nations and allowing us to build crucial international partnerships,” Senator Van Hollen concluded.

In addition to these two provisions, the Senator filed two additional amendments that he will continue working to incorporate in the Senate’s push for comprehensive legislation on China. The first amendment would impose sanctions on any Chinese person who knowingly transfers or facilitates the development of enrichment or reprocessing technology by Saudi Arabia or transfers or facilitates the production of unsafeguarded special nuclear material by Saudi Arabia in violation of its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.  

The second amendment would require the Secretary of the Treasury to compile a list of foreign entities/persons who are engaging in activities that violate U.N. and/or U.S. sanctions on North Korea and then require the application of sanctions – pursuant to the Senator’s BRINK Act, which was signed into law in 2019 – for any entities identified within a specific timeframe.

Senator Van Hollen has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) calling on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to identify the top emerging science and technology challenges and provide recommendations to ensure the United States remains competitive and secure in the global economy.