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Menendez, Hagerty, Rubio, Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Transparency on PRC Activity at IDB

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), introduced the IDB Transparency Act, a bipartisan bill to require the Treasury Department to increase transparency on activities of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and require U.S. vote and leadership at the IDB to counter PRC influence in the bank. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.-08), Ruben Gallego (R-Ariz.-03), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05), and Mario Díaz Balart (R-Fla.-25) are introducing companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The IDB – as the most important development institution in the Western Hemisphere that provided over $23 billion in annual financing to the region last year – is vital to the development of Latin America. Since joining the IDB in 2009, the PRC has consistently used its participation at the bank to advance its national interests and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. The PRC, despite owning less than 0.1 percent of the shares of the IDB, has consistently ranked among the top countries awarded contracts by the IDB, ranking number one in 2019.

“The IDB is our hemisphere’s preeminent multilateral development bank, and has long provided financing to accelerate inclusive economic growth and build much-needed infrastructure across the region,” said Chairman Menendez. “As the People’s Republic of China continues to use economic tools to advance its coercive economic agenda across the Western Hemisphere, it’s more important than ever that we protect the integrity of the IDB and ensure its critical work can continue unhampered by Beijing’s interference. By strengthening transparency at the IDB and denying support to projects that undermine U.S. national interests or those of our partners, this important bipartisan legislation will bolster our commitment to the IDB while assuring the global community that we’re combatting efforts to exploit multilateral institutions.”

“The economic security of the Western Hemisphere is inextricably linked to the economic security of the United States, and it is vital that the United States work to counter the CCP’s efforts to gain a strategic foothold through investments in critical resources and infrastructure,” said Senator Hagerty. “The U.S. is the IDB’s largest shareholder, but the PRC has leveraged the IDB to enhance its growing, nefarious influence in Latin America. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will help put an end to the CCP’s attempts to use the IDB to advance its goals in Latin America.”

“The U.S. is the IDB’s largest shareholder. Yet, China’s genocidal regime continues to enhance and grow its leverage throughout our region, thanks to its debt trap diplomacy and Belt and Road Initiative. We must have a comprehensive action plan to reduce Beijing’s coercive and anti-democratic influence at the IDB,” said Senator Rubio.

 “The IDB is one of the most influential development institutions in Latin America,” said Senator Kaine. “It’s critical that we understand the scope of China’s influence in the IDB to protect against PRC companies that could pose risks to our national security and hinder economic growth and good governance in the region. This bipartisan bill would help us do just that.”

“For too long, the Chinese Communist Party has exploited its presence in the Inter-American Development Bank to advance its own geopolitical, economic, and technological goals. Latin American citizens deserve to have the IDB serve their economic development, not as a vector of CCP malign influence,” said Chairman Mike Gallagher.

In specific, the IDB Transparency Act would require a public report from Treasury every two years that includes:

  • A complete list of PRC-funded projects, the extent to which IDB financing has benefitted PRC entities, and a full review of projects involving PRC companies;
  • The extent of PRC tech subject to U.S. export controls involved in IDB projects; and
  • An action plan for the U.S. to reduce PRC influence at the IDB.

The bill would also require the use of the United States voice, vote, and influence at the IDB to:

  • Facilitate greater transparency at the IDB;
  • Reduce PRC influence in IDB deliberations and activities;
  • Vote against PRC-funded projects or projects involving PRC companies that threaten U.S. national interests; and
  • Block new share sales to the PRC.

Full text of the bill can be found here.