US Senate proposes Strategic Competition Act, 2021

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has introduced the Strategic Competition Act of 2021. It seeks to “bolster the United States diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the Chinese government”. It would warrant the imposition of sanctions concerning forced labour, sexual abuse, forced sterilisation, and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The bill would also introduce reporting requirements on: (i) the use of Hong Kong by the Chinese government to circumvent US export controls; and (ii) Chinese companies in US capital markets that (amongst other things) have contributed to PLA’s military development, human rights abuses, or proliferation activities.

The 283-page bill attempts to provide aid for American companies to diversify their global supply chain; total or partial acquisition of infrastructure like 5G mobile networks and undersea cables; negotiations for digital trade agreement negotiations and building up cybersecurity capabilities.

As per the Press Release, the key features of the legislation are:

Key elements of the legislation include:

  • “Bolsters the United States diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the Chinese government and reaffirms America’s commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world, and calls for the United States to reassert its leadership within international organizations and other multilateral fora. Renews America’s commitment to allies and partners by prioritizing security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthens U.S. diplomatic efforts to address challenges posed by China in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Arctic, and Oceania.
  • Invests in universal values, authorizing a broad range of human rights and civil society measures including supporting democracy in Hong Kong and imposing sanctions with respect to forced labor, forced sterilization, and other abuses in Xinjiang.
  • Focuses on countering and confronting China’s predatory international economic behavior, and includes measures to track intellectual property violators, Chinese government subsidies, monitor Chinese use of Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. export controls, and track the presence of Chinese companies in U.S. capital markets. Directs the United States to provide technical assistance to countries working to counter foreign corrupt practices, and debt relief to the poorest countries who have requested forbearance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Strengthens American competitiveness with investments in science and technology, global infrastructure development, digital connectivity and cybersecurity partnerships, and reinforces U.S. efforts to counter Chinese Communist Party influence and malign operations.
  • Calls for enhanced coordination and cooperation with allies on arms control in the face of China’s military modernization and expansion, and requires reporting on Chinese ballistic, hypersonic glide, and cruise missiles, conventional forces, nuclear, space, cyberspace and other strategic domains.”


*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together.

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