(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees (SFRC), and U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced a pair of resolutions aimed at countering the malign influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Latin America and internationally. The resolutions come ahead of this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in San Francisco where President Joe Biden is expected to meet with PRC President Xi Jinping.
“To better counter China’s attempts to disrupt international norms and spread its malign influence, including by engaging in coercive economic practices that stymie economic growth and democratic governance, we must work to deepen our economic and diplomatic ties with our Allies and partners in Latin America and around the world,” said Senator Shaheen. “These bipartisan resolutions would make clear that the United States can and must make additional economic, security and political investments to remain the partner of choice internationally.”
“As we traveled to South America on a bipartisan CODEL earlier this year, it became crystal clear that China’s influence in the region is growing and undermining our national interest. It must be the policy of the U.S. government to counter this influence, maintain the dominance of the dollar, and keep our nation as the go-to resource for trade and resources in South America,” said Senator Budd.
Shaheen and Budd’s first bipartisan resolution works to support the United States dollar as the reserve currency of the world, which would combat the PRC from gaining an economic foothold as they work to create a competing reserve currency to compete with and undermine the United States’ economic influence across the world. The resolution is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
In 1999, the U.S. dollar accounted for approximately 71% of official global currency reserves and has since declined to 59% in 2023. Simultaneously, the PRC is now the largest official creditor and provider of export subsidies in the world, leading to an increased reliance on capital from the PRC amongst developing nations. The PRC uses this leverage to saddle these nations with unsustainable debt while refusing to disclose their lending practices or engage in debt restructuring. Recently, South America’s two largest economies, Brazil and Argentina, have taken steps to deepen their ties with the PRC.
The second bipartisan resolution from Shaheen and Budd urges additional U.S. investment in Latin America, including by expanding opportunities for private sector investment in critical infrastructure projects and by developing and promoting new public-private partnerships to strengthen the economic engagement of the United States and advance democratic governance in the region. It also encourages the President and the Secretary of State to work with the Senate to expeditiously nominate and confirm Ambassadors to the region to ensure continued engagement with partner governments in Latin America. The resolution also condemns the coercive economic practices of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the CCP’s attempts to conduct malign information operations in Latin America that sow distrust in public institutions. The resolution is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Peter Welch (D-VT).
Earlier this year, Shaheen participated in a bipartisan CODEL to Latin America with Senator Budd, highlighting efforts to counter malign Chinese influence in the region and interdict drug trafficking. Shaheen is a leader in the Senate in the push against an increasingly competitive and aggressive Xi regime. Shaheen is Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and secured important provisions in the historic Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022, which was signed into law last year. The historic legislation develops U.S. policy to address strategic, economic and diplomatic tools for a global strategy that will allow the United States to confront the challenges that China poses to the United States. Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced the Protecting American Capital Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Treasury to annually report to Congress on the United States’ financial exposure to China. Shaheen also co-sponsored bipartisan legislation which passed the Senate earlier this year, the Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act, to improve U.S. competitiveness in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Shaheen previously led the Transatlantic Telecommunication Security Act (TTSA), which would strengthen European telecommunications infrastructure and counter China’s influence by helping key allies in the region build 5G networks. Shaheen serves as an honorary co-chair of the Global Tech Security Commission, which seeks to develop a global tech security strategy that safeguards freedom through the adoption of trusted technology. Shaheen also joined bipartisan legislation, the China Grand Strategy Commission, which would create a China Grand Strategy Commission to hold China accountable for its attempts to undermine international norms.