Romney, Van Hollen Introduce Bill to End China’s Unfair International Advantages

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

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) today introduced the Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act, bipartisan 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. Romney first introduced this legislation at the end of last Congress.

“China has the second largest economy in the world and is on track to surpass the U.S. economically,” Senator Romney said. “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’s vast investments in its own economy, its military, its advanced technologies, and in countries around the world do not reflect the characteristics of a ‘developing nation.’ Given that fact, the government of China should not be able to enjoy the favorable terms and benefits that international agreements provide truly developing countries. This bipartisan bill I’m introducing with Senator Romney will update U.S. policy to meet the realities of today and to ensure the U.S. gets a fair deal when negotiating multilateral agreements involving China,” said Senator Van Hollen.


China—which continues to claim 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.

The Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act:

  • Articulates that it should be the policy of the U.S. to oppose the labeling or treatment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a developing nation in current and future treaty negotiations, and to pursue a change in China’s treatment as a developing nation.
  • Requires reports 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 and on development status of member states in existing organizations and treaties.
  • 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.