GOP congressman leads charge on Chinese sanctions bill

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GOP congressman leads charge on Chinese sanctions bill

Rep. Andy Barr is leading the charge on a bill to require President Biden to sanction entities working to aid Chinese military or Chinese surveillance companies. 

The Chinese Military and Surveillance Company Sanction Act, which was introduced on Wednesday, looks to target Chinese companies identified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or included in the Department of Defense’s annual list as posing a threat to national security, including Chinese telecom giant Huawei. 

Proponents of the legislation argue that it’s necessary to combat the possibility of US capital helping finance the Chinese Communist Party’s rise without hindering investors’ ability to invest in non-threatening Chinese companies.

“My legislation protects U.S. national security and the privacy of every American by imposing sanctions on companies clearly identified as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military or surveillance companies,”  Barr (R-Ky.), who serves on the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, said in a statement.

Huawei
The Trump administration had imposed various sanctions on Huawei, citing national security concerns.
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

“Without question, these companies present real and imminent threats to national security, and my bill would limit their access to capital and investment. This proposal combats these threats without trying to beat China by becoming China. I am committed to preserving our free market, capitalist economic principles while confronting the national security challenges we face from the CCP.”

The bill would expand on an executive order signed in June banning investment in Chinese companies named by the OFAC, providing the Treasury secretary — who oversees OFAC — with the authority to add entities to be sanctioned after consulting with the secretaries of defense and state.

While the executive order bans investment in the listed entities, Barr’s bill calls on the president to actively sanction the companies, with the sanctions covering “private investment; debt as well as equity investment.” 

The bill comes as part of larger efforts by House Republicans to combat China overtaking the US as an economic power, with GOP lawmakers arguing that the country needs to take strides to combat intellectual property theft, cybersecurity threats and human rights abuses in the country.

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