China's state-owned and -directed enterprises are looking to exploit the current economic crisis by buying US and foreign companies, a bipartisan group of top American senators said on Thursday, urging the Trump Administration to counter China's international predatory economic behaviour.
"As we confront the current public health crisis, we must ensure countering the PRC's predatory economic behaviour both at home and abroad continues to feature in policy deliberations. It was important six months ago, remains important today, and must continue to be a US priority in the future, the senators wrote in a letter to the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Signatories to the letter were Senators Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Thom Tillis, Ben Sasse, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton and Jeff Merkley.
We write to express our concerns related to the People's Republic of China's (PRC) efforts to exploit the economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic to gain control of distressed companies or shirking its international responsibilities amidst a worldwide crisis, the Senators said.
In both Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and PRC policy documents, Beijing has made no secret of its intentions to dominate strategic industrial and emerging technology sectors as well as influence standards at the expense of liberal, rules-based governance, they said.
Moreover, as the crisis reverberates across the globe, the PRC's predatory lending practices, including the use of non-disclosure agreements for bilateral loans, not only damage the fiscal situation of recipient countries but also undermine the international community's ability to respond effectively to the crisis, the letter said.
Without US and international pressure for accountability and transparency, those countries that are in debt to the PRC will not have the political cover or protection to open their financial books, the Senators felt.
Such countries will face the risk of default or a currency crisis, leaving the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Western countries to clean up the PRC's mess, they said.
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