Congress needs to advance common-sense measures to hold China accountable

For decades, while the United States was engaged in countering the Soviet Union’s threat and global influence, China, under the Chinese Communist Party, moved to consolidate and grow their economic might through targeted economic expansion and intellectual property theft.

After years of efforts, they are now head-to-head with the United States as the largest economy in the world, with their influence reaching nearly every corner of the globe. Recognizing China’s growing presence and their continued interest in countering the United States militarily and economically, House Republicans established the China Task Force to conduct a comprehensive review of China’s actions and propose solutions and ideas to solve those problems.

The Task Force released their formal report on Sept. 29, following months of efforts, to highlight how the United States can hold China accountable.

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The Task Force met with more than 130 leaders across 60 engagements and developed a report with 82 findings and nearly 400 recommendations. Many of those recommendations are designed to strengthen America’s relationship with our allies, push back on Chinese strategic interests, and ensure that the systems and guidelines for existing and future technology are developed with an open and transparent focus.

The issues range from health care security, to cutting edge technology development, to energy independence and more. Specifically, the report shows that House Republicans have tools at our disposal to protect Americans and our interests against Chinese efforts to steal intellectual property and expand their influence.

The report also addresses the Chinese Communist Party’s involvement and suppression of information regarding COVID-19. It’s very clear that this pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities in our country’s medical products supply chain for both raw materials and manufacturing.

Some of the initial findings show how the Chinese government utilizes bodies like the United Nations and other tactics to obscure its role in the spread of COVID-19 and how they utilized pressure on manufacturing facilities in China to hoard personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential medical products.

Additionally, millions of Americans take drugs that are sourced or made from Asian countries. If these countries decide to retaliate on America, they could substantially increase prices or limit exports. In fact, this exact situation happened at the beginning of the pandemic. India withheld 26 essential medicines from export which put our health and national security at risk.

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The China Task Force report recommends several of my legislative proposals to help fix these problems, especially for future health emergencies.

First, the report recommends passage of my bipartisan legislation, the MADE in America Act. This legislation includes several provisions to increase national security and reduce reliance on overseas manufacturing. It would require a Government Accountably Office (GAO) study to assess whether the differing regulatory requirements across countries creates inefficiencies in drug manufacturing, enhance transparency of facility inspection timelines, and codify FDA’s advanced manufacturing technologies program. This legislation would make regulatory processes more efficient, increase oversight on Asian manufacturers, and utilize tax incentives to help manufacturers relocate or expand manufacturing facilities in the United States.

The report also includes a bipartisan proposal of mine that would help prevent and mitigate drugs shortages. The Essential Medicines Strategic Stockpile Act would utilize public-private partnerships that enable the federal government to enter contracts with pharmaceutical distributors in which the distributors would secure, manage, and replenish a supply of drugs that are at high-risk of shortage. This would ensure American consumers never have to rely on the production and cooperation of medicines in emergencies from overseas adversaries.

Beyond health care, the report also highlights how the Chinese government is using a strategic approach to put forth their advances in new technologies in an effort to create global standards that reflect their progress. One such area is the use of facial recognition in the commercial marketplace. I’ve introduced legislation, the Advancing Facial Recognition Act, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how the technology is used in the commercial marketplace as well as vulnerabilities in supply chains from foreign governments.

We know the Chinese are willing to exploit any vulnerability they can find in advanced technologies to further their goals. Having the U.S. lead on this issue can also help prevent future abuses and uphold rights. The report recommends Congress taking up this legislation to assist with the United States’ efforts in design and usage.

The Chinese government has made it clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to gain a foothold against its competitors, especially the United States.

The Task Force report lays out common-sense recommendations with bills and options currently at our disposal. Now it is up to congressional Democrats to decide if they want to move forward with these common-sense reforms and hold China accountable, or look the other direction.

Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter represents the First District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives.