Chairman Cole Hearing Remarks on China's Coercive Economic Tactics

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. We are meeting today to conduct a hearing titled “Examining China’s Coercive Economic Tactics.”

Today’s hearing covers a topic that is of great importance to the United States. It is indisputable that the People’s Republic of China has repeatedly used economic coercion to shape their policies or to exact retribution in response to sovereign decisions Beijing does not like. These practices run counter to the international trade system that has been in place for the past seventy-five years. They also harm U.S. interests around the world, undermine the sovereignty of free and independent nations, and have damaged the economies of our partners and friends.

Chinese economic coercion tactics take on many forms. Some are as blatant and public as unilateral, weaponized use of trade sanctions and embargoes for China’s economic and business advantage. Others are more subtle, ranging from undercutting international access to the Chinese domestic market and exerting pressure on commercial investment deals, to the quiet imposition of other trade restrictions on companies seeking to do business in or with China.

As we consider this question, we must remember that unlike in the United States, the lines between China’s government and Chinese business entities are blurred. The Communist Party of China, the People’s Liberation Army, and indeed the overall government of the People’s Republic of China are heavily involved in the Chinese economy. This allows China to put not just a thumb on the scale, but a heavy weight in favor of the interests of the Chinese state.

The tactics of economic coercion China uses pose a clear threat to American economic stability, to our national security, and to those of our friends and allies around the world. Rather than adhering to the rules of the road that most other countries around the world follow, China is instead choosing to rewrite those rules in their favor. In doing so, they threaten the stability of critical supply chains, fair and free access to markets the world over, and even the continued sovereignty of neighboring nations.

Today’s hearing does not arise in a vacuum. It is part of the bipartisan effort by the House of Representatives to examine America’s relationship with Communist China and the urgent threat to the United States and our allies posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Earlier this year, the House created the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, a bipartisan effort to examine these questions.

As this process moves forward, I look forward to discussing possible legislative priorities, including H.R. 1135, the Countering Economic Coercion Act of 2023, which I joined with Representative Gregory Meeks, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and with other members on both sides of the aisle to introduce in March. This bipartisan bill will extend new tools to the Administration to counter foreign adversaries using economic coercion to pressure, punish, and influence U.S. allies and partners. Specifically, it will provide targeted relief to our allies subjected to economic coercion through decreased duties on goods, export financing, and loan guarantees. Additionally, it would increase duties on imports from those engaging in economic coercion.

I look forward to continuing to work with Ranking Member Meeks and a bipartisan coalition of members on this bill.

I want to extend a warm welcome to our witnesses who are appearing before us today, and to thank them for sharing their time and expertise with us.

I also want to thank our Ranking Member, Mr. McGovern, and his staff for working closely with us to make today’s hearing happen. While the Rules Committee is often the setting for partisan combat, I expect we will not see that today. The thorny questions we are considering today are ones that vex and concern us all, Republicans and Democrats alike. Indeed, there is no stronger message that we can send to China than one that shows that both parties are united on this question.


May 10, 2023