In address to the American Leadership Initiative, Senator unveils comprehensive legislation to recommit and renew instruments of American economic statecraft to address challenges posed by China’s anti-competitive, predatory economic policy
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the Economic Statecraft for the Twenty-First Century Act, new comprehensive legislation creating a whole-of-government approach to recommit U.S. leadership in the global economy. The new initiative, which comes as the Senate and House of Representatives begin the formal conference process to reconcile different versions of U.S.-China competition legislation, complements and expands upon provisions being negotiated – including on China’s economic coercion, supply chains, global infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and economic resilience.
“Twenty years ago, the common consensus was that by joining the international economic order, China would adopt principles of economic liberalization and personal freedom. But unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Instead they are using their economic integration to pressure the developing world to choose between our system and our values of self-determination, respect for human rights, and openness – or theirs: of authoritarianism, repression, and censorship,” Chairman Menendez said. “It is time to have coordination. We need a new, whole-of-government approach. One rooted in the emerging geopolitical realities of a world more connected yet more complex than ever. And that’s exactly what my bill, the Economic Statecraft for the Twenty-First Century Act, will do.”
Unveiled in a speech to the American Leadership Initiative, Chairman Menendez made the case for overhauling U.S. competitive economic diplomacy so the federal government can be better equipped to outcompete China in five strategic domains of the 21st century – infrastructure, energy, technology, international financial institutions, and global resilience.
Menendez underscored the significant extent to which geo-economics plays a role in American national security and raised concerns that China’s brand of international economic diplomacy – or ‘manipulative investment’ – threatens global stability, the free flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and the resolution of disputes consistent with international law.
“To create, shape, and set standards for the twenty-first century, America and our allies must show up. If we don’t, we risk seeing the rule of law in these countries washed away in a flood of Chinese cash. It is not too late, but time is certainly running out,” Chairman Menendez added. “Revitalizing the rules-based order and institutions built for the 21st century means dealing with the challenges posed by technology and artificial intelligence. It means being honest about how these advances can also lead to oppression and economic displacement. It means reforming our institutions in a way that delivers economic prosperity for all of our people. Our best hope at establishing the rules of the road for the future of global commerce is to work together.”
Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s full remarks HERE.
Find a copy of the legislation HERE.
Find a section-by-section summary of the legislation HERE.
The Economic Statecraft for the Twenty-First Century Act (ES21)