U.S. Senate introduces bill on “strategic competition” with China

The document is expected to have broad bipartisan support

The leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have approved a bill, the Strategic Competitiveness Act of 2021. The document aims to counter China’s expanding global influence, Reuters reported, and includes long-term diplomatic and political initiatives to counter Beijing.

The 280-page bill addresses a strategy for economic competition with China as well as humanitarian issues such as imposing new anti-Chinese sanctions for the brutal suppression of Uighur Muslim rights and youth democratic protests in Hong Kong.

The draft requires the U.S. administration to increase and military investment – primarily in the Indo-Pacific region – to contain China and calls for an expanded partnership with Taiwan, which appears in the text as a “self-governing” island that is “a vital part of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy.”

U.S. lawmakers also call on allied countries to increase pressure on Beijing. As one of the tools it is proposed to conclude an arms control agreement between Western countries and the PRC.

The new bill is expected to be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 14 and receive broad bipartisan support.

In general, the new U.S. administration seeks to maintain the tough approach to trade with China that was taken under President Trump. In April, for example, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimonodo said she would work “as aggressively as possible to protect American workers and businesses from China’s unfair practices.”

Speaking at a White House press briefing, Raimondo said that the duties imposed under Trump, then widely criticized by Democrats, “actually helped save American jobs in the steel and aluminum industries.”

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