Romney Introduces Bill to End China’s Unfair International Advantages

Legislation would end practice of treating China as a “developing nation” in treaties and international organizations

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today introduced the Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act, legislation to prevent the granting of “developing nation” status to China in future treaties and international organizations. This bill also directs the Secretary of State to pursue changing the status of China to “developed nation” in treaties or organizations where a mechanism for change exists.

“China has the second largest economy in the world and is on track to surpass the U.S. economically,” said Senator Romney. “It’s absurd that, given their defense expenditures and massive amount of outbound and inbound foreign investment, China continues to be treated as a developing nation on the global stage. The U.S. should not enter into treaties or international organizations where China is given an unfair advantage, whether it be accommodations or financial assistance, under such false pretenses.”


China—which continues to have developing nation status in many international organizations—has the second largest economy in the world with massive outbound and inbound foreign direct investment and enormous defense expenditures. Depending on the treaty or international organization, developing country status can lead to special privileges and flexibilities within an institution that provide longer timelines for implementation of objectives or even financial assistance.

Romney’s Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act:

  • Articulates that it should be the policy of the U.S. to not enter treaties where China is treated as a developing nation, to oppose treatment of China as a developing nation in existing international organizations, and to pursue a change in China’s treatment as a developing nation.
  • Requires a report by the Secretary of State to Congress on any treaties under consideration by the Administration which would confer different standards based on developing nation status with China being considered as a member of the treaty.
  • Requires the Secretary of State to pursue changing China’s status as a developing nation in international organizations where a mechanism for changing such status exists, or to propose the development of such a status where none exists.

This legislation builds upon an amendment offered by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), which was unanimously adopted by the Senate in September 2022, conditioning the Senate’s ratification of updates to the Montreal Protocol (known as the Kigali Amendment) on the U.S. taking action to remove China’s designation as a “developing nation.”