Big business fights bill to stop selling America to China

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, proposed legislation for the Bipartisan Innovation Act would allow the government to review corporate investment in China to protect US industries that the government considers vital to US national security.
  • The US-China Business Council, an organization that counts more than 250 US companies as members, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the legislation could actually harm the US economy.
  • Pastor Bob Fu, president of human rights organization ChinaAid, told TheDCNF that the US-China Business Council is a “pro-CCP interest lobby group” and “partially responsible” for the “ongoing supply chain disaster”.

Major U.S. corporations and trade groups are fighting proposed new legislation aimed at protecting U.S. industries deemed critical to China’s national security.

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives on June 13 proposed legislation to be included in the Bipartisan Innovation Act (BIA) that aims to protect American manufacturing power in industries considered vital to the national security of the United States, said lawmakers in a joint statement. However, organizations with vested business interests in China reportedly intend to fight the legislation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Douglas K. Barry, senior director of communications at the US-China Business Council (USCBC), told the Daily Caller News Foundation that his organization opposes the legislation, saying it will lead to regulatory uncertainty that will cripple businesses and hurt US supply chains.

“We appreciate the need to ensure that U.S. investments abroad do not cause national security concerns,” Barry told TheDCNF. “However, a unilateral mechanism like the COMPETES Act passed by the House would be far too broad to cover many sectors not critical to national security, create enormous uncertainty, and reduce the competitiveness of American businesses.”

More than 250 companies belong to USCBC, including Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Intel, Procter & Gamble, Visa and Snickers. Despite the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China, these six US companies officially sponsored the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. Yet these companies suspended their business operations in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine by the Kremlin.

Proposed new legislation would require US companies to disclose their intention to invest in the development of sensitive technologies – such as drones, hypersonics and pharmaceuticals – in China and other “foreign adversaries”, the Wall Street reported. Newspaper after reviewing a bill. invoice. A new interagency group would then have the ability to review and block proposed foreign investments deemed vital to national security.

US venture capital firms, such as Sequoia Capital, could therefore be affected if the legislation is implemented, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sequoia Capital reportedly made numerous direct investments in Chinese semiconductor, robotics and biotechnology companies and also invested in a Chinese artificial intelligence company blacklisted by the US government in 2019 for “acting contrary to interests of the foreign policy of the United States”.

The pro-China lobby, which includes both Chinese government lobbyists as well as non-governmental groups advocating Chinese interests, has stepped up its efforts in recent years, spending a total of around $68 million in 2019, $73 million in 2020 and $83 million. million in 2021, according to the Open Secrets database. Major US corporations with business interests in China, such as Apple, Intel and Procter & Gamble, have lobbied on issues related to the US Competition and Innovation Act (USICA) – which proposed new legislation would part.

The USCBC reportedly lobbied successfully to defeat a previous push for similar legislation requiring government reviews of U.S. investments in China in 2021, according to Politico. The National Retail Federation, which represents major U.S. retailers, has also joined efforts to oppose anti-China competition bills, Politico reported.

Pastor Bob Fu, founder and president of human rights organization ChinaAid, told TheDCNF that the USCBC has a long history of lobbying for the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CCP).

“The USCBC is, in essence, a pro-CCP interest lobby group,” Fu said. “The USCBC is, at least, in part responsible for America’s successful reliance on China, resulting in massive strategic losses to US national security, including the ongoing chain disaster. ‘supply.”

Fu said the USCBC has clearly been successful in minimizing human rights abuses in China while protecting China’s access to the lucrative US trade market.

Speaking at a 1997 hearing before the Commerce Subcommittee regarding the renewal of China’s most favored nation status, former USCBC chief Robert A. Kapp argued that China’s human rights abuses should not be a moral barrier to US trade.

“The idea of ​​transforming [most-favored-nation] voting in a litmus test of the moral integrity of individual members of Congress is absolutely astounding,” Kapp said. “To tell a member of Congress – as many members have told me they have been told themselves – that their vote on a tariff measure on Chinese imports is a measure of their commitment to their moral beliefs more fundamental is an extraordinary, heavy and unacceptable burden to impose on individual members of Congress, whose integrity is not in doubt.

However, Barry called claims that the USCBC ever downplayed human rights abuses in China in the name of business interests “completely absurd.”

“The USCBC has rarely advocated for the rights and interests of American or Chinese workers, and does not support any initiatives on universal human rights and religious liberty issues,” Fu said. “Instead, his influence over the years provides platforms for CCP leaders’ propaganda activities, such as lobbying the U.S. government to grant China permanent normal trade relations and the most-favoured-nation status by unbundling human rights affairs in China and then helping China’s entry. in the World Trade Organization. (RELATED: China’s military violated Taiwan’s airspace 3 times more under Biden than under Trump)

Former China Secretary General Hu Jintao (left) is introduced by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before addressing the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington, January 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

Barry told TheDCNF that the USCBC also opposes the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) – which went into effect on Tuesday – and requires US companies to ensure their supply chains are safe. free of products created using Uyghur forced labor. Barry argued that the proposed new legislation could cause regulatory uncertainty and compliance issues for US companies.

“[UFLPA] will create significant uncertainty, worsen already stressed supply chains and contribute to inflation,” Barry told TheDCNF. “We expect the implementation to be messy. [Customs and Border Protection] had to scramble to implement complex legislation in just six months.

The USCBC lobbied against the UFLPA in March 2022 by submitting comments outlining their objections to the Department of Homeland Security. Among the objections, the USCBC criticized the law’s implementation timeline and called its scope “extremely broad.”

Meanwhile, Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike and other US companies allegedly identified as beneficiaries of Uyghur slave labor by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in March 2020 are members of USCBC.

Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, Airbnb, Intel, Procter & Gamble, Visa, Snickers and Sequoia Capital did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment. (RELATED: China launches largest aircraft carrier Asia has ever built)

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