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The Senate’s Missed Opportunity to Counter China

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The Chinese and American flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China, April 14, 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters) The bill the Senate just passed gives Beijing carte blanche to continue exploiting the openness of America’s capital markets.

This week, the Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act, what many mistakenly referred to as the “China bill.” It should have been an opportunity to strengthen our markets and national research infrastructure against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) predatory behavior. Instead, it effectively gives Beijing carte blanche to keep exploiting one of America’s greatest economic vulnerabilities: the openness of our capital markets.

When it comes to American economic power, there is no more efficient tool at our disposal than U.S. capital markets. Our stock markets are the most open and valuable in the world. However, they’re also fundamentally agnostic as to whether their investment goes to the U.S. or China; creates good jobs in America or depletes them; and allows the U.S. or Beijing to lead the 21st century.

This is not conjecture; in fact, it is codified into law.

Those of us committed to long-term prosperity and opportunity in our nation must recognize the massive vulnerabilities to Americans’ national and economic security this creates. For decades, Beijing has understood that the highest priority of America’s financial sector is to maximize short-term profits — even as investment, as well as research and development, collapses at home — and works daily to exploit that mindset. The results speak for themselves; 2019 was the first time in history that the U.S. became a net investor in China, and, over the last year, Americans’ investment in Chinese corporations has increased by nearly $70 billion.

At Wall Street’s direction, millions of Americans’ retirement accounts are today being used to fund the CCP’s century-defining efforts to supplant American leadership. Major American fund managers now speak openly about hedging their bets by investing in China, in case Beijing wins the competition for the 21st century. Our government’s own retirement fund, the Thrift Savings Plan, tried to invest in shady Chinese companies, arguing

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