WASHINGTON – A major legislative package aimed at improving economic competition with China and holding its communist government accountable for predatory tactics today passed the Senate with several key provisions authored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 68-32.
“The Chinese Communist Party has made no bones about its desire for global economic dominance through whatever means necessary. They’ve actively worked to buy up, influence, spy on and steal American innovation. They’ve sought to spread pro-China propaganda at our research and academic institutions. And while their ill-gotten approach to economic advancement has boosted their status in the world, they claim to be a developing nation to get better deals to finance their activities. This is not the behavior of a responsible nation. This bill, with several of my provisions, takes an important step toward holding China accountable,” Grassley said.
The package includes several of Grassley’s previously-introduced proposals to improve competition with China and hold the nation accountable.
Combatting Counterfeits
The U.S. marketplace has been flooded with counterfeit merchandise, often originating from China. This provision cracks down on counterfeit goods entering the United States by modernizing the Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act and expanding U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) authority to share information with rights holders and other interested parties on suspected counterfeit merchandise.
“Knockoffs not only violate intellectual property rights; they also threaten the economy and consumer safety. Unfortunately, as consumers rely more on online shopping, bad actors are finding new ways to exploit legitimate channels to box out businesses and dupe consumers with bogus products. This legislation promotes greater cooperation between government and the private sector so that we can crack down on these counterfeiters,” Grassley said.
Read more about this provision HERE.
Improving Research Funding Transparency
China has used its access to American research and academic institutions to spread propaganda and abscond with U.S. intellectual property. This provision requires U.S. institutions of higher education to disclose any financial ties to the communist Chinese government and its affiliates, including research grants or arrangements with Confucius Institutes.
“I’ve been raising concerns about China’s propaganda and IP theft efforts for years. The communist regime poses a serious threat to U.S. research as well as undue influence on our college campuses. This provision will shine a light on financial ties between our educational and research institutions and the communist regime,” Grassley said.
This provision builds on legislation Grassley introduced to expose financial ties to Confucius Institutes. Read more about that bill HERE.
Boosting Antitrust Resources & Modernizing Merger Fees
Premerger filing fees have not changed since 2001 despite the steady march of inflation, and the current fee structure places too heavy a burden on smaller deals and too small a fee on larger deals. This provision updates merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, ensure larger deals bring in more income and raise enough revenue so that taxpayer dollars aren’t required to fund necessary increases to agency enforcement budgets.
“Consumers depend on the FTC and Justice Department to vet proposed mergers and guard against anticompetitive practices. It’s important that these government agencies have the resources needed to protect consumers and taxpayers. Unfortunately, our outdated system is not getting the job done and ultimately hurts small and medium sized businesses. I’m proud to co-author this bipartisan bill, which will improve fairness in the fee schedules for proposed mergers and strengthen the ability of these agencies to challenge anticompetitive transactions,” Grassley said.
Read more about this provision HERE.
World Bank Integrity Preservation Act
The World Bank offers low-cost loans intended for developing or otherwise economically challenged countries. Loan recipients are expected to reduce their loan portfolios once they reach a certain income level known as a “graduation threshold.” China reached this threshold in 2016, yet remains one of the Bank’s top borrowers. This provision direct the U.S. Executive Director at the World Bank to use their best efforts to deny any project in a country that has reached the graduation threshold.
“China has been lending development money outside its borders to extend its influence for years while taking in U.S. taxpayer dollars via World Bank loans. It’s confounding that these loans still continue and they ought to stop. What’s worse is that these loans might have helped free up resources used to violate human rights and force Uighurs into internment camps. My bill would make it official U.S. policy to work with our allies to end further World Bank lending to China,” Grassley said
Read more about this provision HERE.