Bipartisan Bill Passes to Strip China of ‘Developing Nation’ Status

On Monday, a bill was passed in the House of Representatives that aims to revoke the “developing country” status of the People’s Republic of China in international organizations.

This status grants it access to preferential loans and other economic benefits.

A Bill to Oppose Labeling PRC as a “Developing Country”

The PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act, introduced by Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), would establish U.S. government policy opposing the labeling or treatment of the PRC as a developing nation.

This would hold under any treaty or international agreement involving the U.S., such as the World Trade Organization.

The House allowed the bill with a unanimous vote of 415-0, using the “suspension of the rules” process to expedite debate and necessitating a two-thirds majority for approval.

“By taking advantage of their developing country status, the PRC seeks development assistance and loans from international organizations.”

“They seek this even as they spend trillions on infrastructure projects in developing countries through their diplomacy scheme debt trap known as the Initiative Belt and Road,” Kim stated on the House floor.

“In truth, the PRC’s withdrawal of loans takes resources away from authentic developing countries and supports the financing of their program. It is essential that we establish a level playing field.”

Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) contributed, “I back this bipartisan initiative because it enhances U.S. involvement in international treaties and organizations, while striving to effectively counter the PRC’s self-interested actions within these forums.”

Reclassification of China’s Status to Revoke Preferential Treatment

This change would more accurately represent China’s position as the world’s second-largest economy, surpassed only by the U.S., and accounting for approximately 18% of the global gross domestic product.

Additionally, the State Department would be responsible for devising a mechanism to alter China’s status to that of a developing country in cases where the international body lacks an existing process.

The department would also aim to prevent China from receiving preferential treatment or assistance, due to its developing country status. The bill would permit the president to waive this requirement if it serves U.S. national interests.

Should the PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act become law, it holds the potential to significantly diminish the benefits China currently enjoys within international organizations.