WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Thursday questioned witnesses during a hearing about countering China and advancing United States national and economic security.
“At a time of increasing challenges from adversaries seeking to threaten the international order, from my perch as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, I am increasingly of the view that the United States has to lead the creation of an economic alliance among like-minded countries. [We must] provide a framework for cooperative action in response to military aggression, violations of sovereignty, economic coercion, and retaliation by adversaries,” Menendez said. “While I welcomed the G7 leader’s statement calling for the creation of a new Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion to promote cooperation within and beyond the G7, I think we have to go further.”
During the hearing, Sen. Menendez announced he is in the process of drafting new legislation that would direct the Administration to create a common economic defense mechanism with U.S. allies and partners that would counter economic coercion, build supply chain resilience, promote stronger export controls, and protect critical technologies. He received commitments from U.S. Treasury and Commerce officials to work together in crafting this critical legislation to counter China.
In addition, the Senator raised concerns about the lack of outbound investment oversight in sensitive industries and its potential to harm our national security.
“[The] lack of outbound investment oversight in sensitive industries has the potential to harm our national security and hamper the competitiveness of U.S. industry because of our technical prowess, capital, and the unique know-how that access to the U.S. capital markets provides. The President’s budget requested funding to support the establishment of such an outbound investment review mechanism by executive action,” Menendez said..
Finally, Sen. Menendez also requested information about what steps the Administration is taking to target enablers of Putin’s inner circle and war-making capabilities, including such enablers in the People’s Republic of China.
“I commend the Administration for the unprecedented range of sanctions it has imposed on Russian actors in response to the invasion of Ukraine, and while I believe we need to focus on enforcement, we need to address the fact that China continues to enable Putin’s war machine,” Menendez said.
Sen. Menendez has long advocated for the United States to develop a comprehensive strategy and renew instruments of American economic statecraft to address challenges posed by China’s anti-competitive, predatory economic policy. The Senator’s Economic Statecraft legislation would overhaul U.S. competitive economic diplomacy so the federal government is better equipped to outcompete China in five strategic domains of the 21st century – infrastructure, energy, technology, international financial institutions, and global resilience.