February 11, 2020

Van Hollen, Sullivan Introduce China Reciprocity Legislation

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, today introduced the True Reciprocity Act of 2020, legislation to address the substantial imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China across a number of sectors, including diplomacy, trade, communications, and education. Specifically, the legislation directs the Trump administration to develop an in-depth report to Congress detailing the obstacles put in place by China to obstruct the free work of U.S. diplomats, officials, journalists, businesses and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the country, and recommendations for how the U.S. can respond in pursuit of reciprocity in the bilateral relationship.

“Our current relationship with China is lopsided. As China benefits from our country’s openness, its government continues to apply a very different set of rules to American businesses, organizations, media, and diplomatic officials. From ensuring our citizens are treated fairly, to upholding freedoms of the press, to instituting fair trade practices, China should adopt the principle of reciprocity. We need a two-way street not a one-way relationship. A key part of enforcing these principles is to better understand where China is skirting the rules and how we can directly prevent those actions. I’m proud to join Senator Sullivan in introducing this bipartisan legislation to address these concerns, and I urge my colleagues to take it up immediately,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China has reached a tipping point,” said Senator Sullivan. “American citizens, businesses and organizations operating in China face significant restriction, delay and censorship. Their Chinese counterparts, on the other hand, operate freely in the U.S., largely unencumbered by our government. This imbalance has been raised with the most senior Chinese officials for decades, but Beijing has consistently failed to make good on its commitments to change. The United States must insist on a bilateral relationship defined by something understood by every American citizen: reciprocity and fairness. The first step in establishing reciprocity and fairness is for our own government to acknowledge and study the extent to which Americans are hindered in China, and to propose corrective measures America can take to reorient the relationship toward a more reciprocal one. We are ever mindful that U.S. freedom and openness are pillars of our country’s strength. I thank Senator Van Hollen for joining me in an effort to establish a more stable and equitable relationship between the world’s two largest economies.”

The full text of the bill is available here.