The House unanimously passed a bill on Monday that would direct the Secretary of State to work toward stripping the People’s Republic of China of its “developing country” label in international organizations
The measure — titled the PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act — cleared the House in a 415-0 vote.
The legislation would direct the Secretary of State to “pursue” altering the status of the People’s Republic of China from developing country to upper middle income country, high income country or developed country for international organizations that include both the U.S. and China, and propose a mechanism to do so.
Additionally, it would direct the top diplomat to work “to ensure that the People’s Republic of China does not receive preferential treatment or assistance within the organization as a result of it having the status of a developing country.”
“The People’s Republic of China is the world’s second largest economy, accounting for 18.6 percent of the global economy,” Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.), a sponsor of the measure, said on the House floor Monday.
“Their economy size is second only to that of the United States. [The] United States is treated as a developed country, so should PRC,” Kim said. “And is also treated as a high-income country in treaties and international organizations, so China should also be treated as a developed country.”
“However, the PRC is classified as a developing country, and they’re using this status to game the system and hurt countries that are truly in need,” she added.
Despite being the second largest economy in the world — only behind the U.S. — China is considered to be a developing country by some international organizations, including the United Nations.
That designation, according to lawmakers, could allow some nations to receive special privileges or flexibilities in certain treaties or organizations.
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers introduced a bill last month that would prevent granting China “developing nation” status in future treaties and international organizations, and direct the Secretary of State to work towards changing its label in treaties or organizations where a mechanism to make such an alteration exists.
The legislation passed on Monday is the latest measure aimed at cracking down on China. Last month, the House unanimously approved a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a spy balloon over continental U.S.
In January, the chamber overwhelmingly voted to establish a bipartisan select committee focused on U.S. competition with China.
The PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act would cement the policy of the U.S. as opposing “the labeling or treatment of the People’s Republic of China as a developing country” in any treaty, international agreement or international organization that the U.S. is part of.
Additionally, it would make the policy of the U.S. “to pursue the labeling or treatment of the People’s Republic of China as an upper middle income country, high income country, or developed country in each international organization of which the United States is a member.”
“H.R. 1107 is an important bipartisan measure that calls out the People’s Republic of China for failing to do its part in international organizations and treaties, and calls on it to do more,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) said on the House floor Monday.
“At the same time, the diplomatic actions that this measure calls for highlight just how critical it is that the United States remain engaged and present in international and multilateral forums and treaties,” she continued.
The measure would also direct the Secretary of State to prepare a report identifying all treaty negotiations where “the proposed treaty develops different standards for the enforcement of the treaty based on the development status of the member states of the treaty,” and ones where the People’s Republic of China is under consideration to become part of it.