Romney, Colleagues Urge Mnuchin to Counter China’s International Predatory Economic Behavior

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin following disturbing reports that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) state-owned and -directed enterprises are looking to exploit the economic crisis by buying U.S. and foreign companies. As companies backed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approach banks to identify the purchase of companies in the U.S. and in Europe affected by the pandemic, the senators urged Mnuchin to protect against the PRC’s and the CCP’s predatory economic behavior during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We write to express our concerns related to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) efforts to exploit the economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic to gain control of distressed companies or shirking its international responsibilities amidst a worldwide crisis. In both Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and PRC policy documents, Beijing has made no secret of its intentions to dominate strategic industrial and emerging technology sectors as well as influence standards at the expense of liberal, rules-based governance,” the senators wrote.

“Moreover, as the crisis reverberates across the globe, the PRC’s predatory lending practices—including the use of non-disclosure agreements for bilateral loans—not only damage the fiscal situation of recipient countries but also undermine the international community’s ability to respond effectively to the crisis. Without U.S. and international pressure for accountability and transparency, those countries that are in debt to the PRC will not have the political cover or protection to open their financial books. Such countries will face the risk of default or a currency crisis, leaving the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Western countries to clean up the PRC’s mess,”
the senators continued.

“As we confront the current public health crisis, we must ensure countering the PRC’s predatory economic behavior both at home and abroad continues to feature in policy deliberations. It was important six months ago, remains important today, and must continue to be a U.S. priority in the future,”
the senators concluded.

The full text of the letter can be found here.