February 8, 2023

Young, Coons Introduce Bill to Counter Economic Coercion of Allies and Partners

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) reintroduced the Countering Economic Coercion Act of 2023 to provide meaningful support to partners and allies facing economic bullying and retaliation from foreign adversaries. The bill would equip the president with new tools to reduce the impact of economic coercion by strengthening trade and commerce ties with partners on an expedited basis.

As some nations around the world continue to deploy punitive and discriminatory economic measures against American partners, particularly those with smaller economies, this legislation will help to ensure that our shared economic and security interests are safeguarded from foreign threats. 

“Some foreign adversaries think they can drive a wedge between our allies and partners by using economic intimidation or by harming economies through opaque, informal actions. These threats and grabs for power cannot go unchecked,” said Senator Young. “Our bipartisan bill will provide the flexibility to help our foreign partners on an expedited basis when they are targeted for standing up to authoritarian regimes. By supporting our partners under threat, we protect America’s own national security interests.” 

“Countries like China and Russia are increasingly abusing their economic power to bully smaller countries and punish sovereign political decisions,” said Senator Coons. “This economic coercion hurts these nations, threatens U.S. economic security, and undermines the democratic, rules-based international system that has underpinned decades of global growth.  I’m proud to work with Senator Young to provide rapid, targeted support to U.S. allies and partners to help them stand up to economic coercion and safeguard American interests.”

The Countering Economic Coercion Act of 2023 would provide the president with specific tools to offer rapid economic support to foreign partners targeted by economic coercion and to punish perpetrators of economic coercion, including authorities to:

  1. Decrease duties on non-import-sensitive goods imported by the U.S. from the foreign partner to make up for lost exports to other nations due to coercive actions;
  2. Increase duties on imports from foreign adversaries committing economic coercion;
  3. Expedite export licensing decisions and regulatory processes to facilitate trade with affected foreign partners;
  4. Seek congressional appropriations to support foreign aid, export financing, and sovereign loan guarantees; and
  5. Waive certain policy requirements to facilitate export financing, allowing the U.S. private sector to meet opportunities in foreign economies suffering from coercion.

The bill directs the president and secretary of State to coordinate the U.S. response with allies and partners in order to broaden economic relief and demonstrate comprehensive and unified opposition to economic coercion.  

In determining whether economic coercion is taking place and how to support the targeted country, the president would be required to consult with Congress. In order to facilitate rapid and nimble relief, the secretary of State would be permitted to take certain actions on an expedited basis. Any determination of economic coercion — and any authorities exercised under a determination — would sunset after two years, or upon a joint resolution of Congress.

Text of the bill is available here.