Senators Propose Bills to Clamp Down on World Bank Lending to China
Dec 11, 2019
WASHINGTON – Following reports of a questionable $50 million World Bank loan to a Chinese organization associated with the forcible internment of Chinese Uighur Muslims, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) are introducing legislation to prevent such loans in the future.
The three senators introduced S.3108, which instructs U.S. representatives at the World Bank to vote against and use best efforts to deny any loan or extension to countries that significantly exceed the graduation thresholds or that are designated as a country of concern for religious freedom.
Grassley and Cotton also introduced an additional measure, S.3017, which is a companion to the Accountability for World Bank Loans to China Act introduced in the House Representatives. That legislation codifies Congress’ support for Administration efforts to graduate China from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lending program.
“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,” Grassley said. “What’s worse is that these loans might have helped free up resources used to violate human rights and force Uighurs into internment camps. Our bills provide a short-term and longer-term means to take away the status that allows China to receive loans and halt loans to any country like China that exceeds the World Bank graduation thresholds or poses a risk to religious freedom.”
"This bill will provide the U.S. Governor of the World Bank with the necessary guidance to uphold U.S. interests and to focus on the bank’s development mission," Rubio said. “For too long, countries like China and Russia have been allowed to exploit the World Bank’s limited resources even after they should no longer qualify for assistance. I'm proud to co-sponsor this bill, which will also reaffirm our nation's continued commitment to international religious freedom worldwide."
“The World Bank is sending development aid meant for poor countries to China, the second largest economy in the world with access to plenty of capital. The ruling Chinese Communist Party uses these loans to fund its repression of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. The United States must urge the World Bank to end these loans, which are contrary to its own guidelines and the demands of justice. Every dollar loaned to China is a dollar spent on strengthening the CCP’s grip over the Chinese people,” Cotton said.
The World Bank International Bank IBRD program is designed to provide loans for economic-development purposes to middle-income developing countries. The threshold for graduation from the IBRD program currently stands at a gross national income per capita level of $6,975, which China has exceeded since 2016. China currently has a World Bank calculated gross national income per capita of level of $9,470. The Accountability for World Bank Loans to China Act codifies Congress’ support for Administration efforts to graduate China from IBRD lending in a vote at the World Bank.
Full text of S.3018 can be found HERE.
Full text of S.3107 can be found HERE.
Grassley has sought to include both bills in any year-end appropriations package.