Bill sponsored by Gonzalez, Wicker creates Chinese economics data center

U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on May 25 proposed bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would establish a China Economic Data Coordination Center within the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Commerce Department.

The center would serve as a one-stop shop for information on China’s economic health and it would coordinate with federal agencies and the private sector to collect and consolidate data on China’s financial markets, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“This bipartisan and bicameral legislation will ensure the U.S. government and American investors have reliable data that can be used to measure and assess any risks linked to China’s economy,” said Rep. Gonzalez, who serves as co-chair for both the Economics and Energy, and the Competitiveness pillars on the House China Task Force. He noted that the economic data circulating from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “is unreliable and manipulated, hurting American investors and everyday business owners alike.”

Rep. Gonzalez sponsored the Documenting Adversarial Trade Aggression (DATA) Act, H.R. 3498, with six original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. French Hill (R-AR), Andy Barr (R-KY), and Haley Stevens (D-MI). Sen. Wicker sponsored his chamber’s version, S. 1822.

“China has reported misleading data and obscured systemic problems within its financial system for years, putting American companies engaging in international business at risk,” Sen. Wicker said. “By establishing a China Economic Data Coordination Center within the Department of Commerce, this legislation would protect American companies from the CCP’s misinformation by exposing gaps in official data and providing a centralized clearinghouse for everything the U.S. government knows about the economic health of China.”

If enacted, the center authorized under the bill also would analyze the United States’ exposure to risks and vulnerabilities in China’s financial system, according to the bill summary. 

“I have long advocated for more economic transparency as China has become one of the world’s largest creditor nations,” said Rep. Hill. “The DATA Act is a step in the right direction in holding China accountable by the same high standards used by international financial institutions.”

Rep. Barr added that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the threat the CCP poses to the United States. “Requiring the Commerce and Treasury Departments to develop metrics to track the CCP’s economic data, investments in the U.S., as well as the destructive Belt and Road Initiative will better inform policymakers as we work to better position the U.S. against the CCP,” he said.