House passes America COMPETES Act
On February 4, the U.S. House passed, by a vote of 222-210, the “America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act” H.R. 4521, which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and U.S. businesses, and counters anti-competitive actions taken by the People’s Republic of China. The COMPETES Act includes provisions affecting financial services, such as:
- U.S. Policy on World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank Loans to China. This provision would, among other things, direct Treasury to vote against any loans to China from the World Bank or Asian Development Bank under certain circumstances, and allow borrowing countries to seek restructuring of China loans in official multilateral debt relief forums.
- Prohibitions or Conditions on Certain Transmittal of Funds. This provision would streamline the process by which special measures may be introduced and modernizes the authorities granted to the FinCEN by permitting the agency to pursue bad actors.
- Study on Chinese Support for Afghan Illicit Finance. This provision would direct Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to brief Congress on the identification and analysis of Chinese economic, commercial, and financial connections to Afghanistan, to include illicit financial networks involved in narcotics trafficking, illicit financial transactions, official corruption, natural resources exploitation, and terrorist networks.
- Support for Debt Relief for Developing Countries. This provision would direct the Treasury secretary and U.S. representatives at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to engage with international financial institutions, official creditors, and relevant commercial creditor groups to advocate for the effective implementation of the G-20’s Common Framework.