Washington D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1704, the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act, sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX). This bipartisan legislation will bolster U.S. economic diplomacy, facilitate greater market access for our companies in emerging markets, and rededicate the Foreign Service to one of its founding missions: support of U.S. business. Of note, H.R. 1704, will counter predatory Chinese commercial competition by promoting U.S. businesses and the high quality standards and transparency they reflect. Lead Republican McCaul delivered the following remarks in anticipation of the bill’s House passage.

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act, which I was pleased to introduce with the support of my friend, Chairman Engel.

“Promoting American business abroad means promoting American leadership, prosperity, and our values.  It has always been, and should remain, a key component of global diplomacy.

“In fact, the very first edition of the Foreign Service Journal, then called American Consular Bulletin, published in March of 1919, included a letter from the editor that stated, “the Consular Service was organized by our government for the purpose of furthering the interests of American businesses abroad.”

“This legislation makes the promotion of U.S. economic interests a principal duty of our missions abroad and requires economic and commercial training for our diplomats.

“It also directs our foreign missions to promote trade agreements and establish points of contact who can assist American businesses interested in entering those foreign markets.

“Promotion of American businesses abroad has never been more important. As transitioning economies work to expand their wealth and capacity, they look to America to bring expertise, financing, and ingenuity.

“If America does not step up its economic engagement in the world, this vacuum will be filled by others, with a potentially devastating impact on American national security.

“While I speak, China is aggressively filling that void. However, its approach does not respect the rights of workers, the environment, or even the sovereignty of other nations.

“China’s Belt and Road Initiative is ensnaring developing nations into Chinese debt traps from which they may never escape. This effort is also leading to a new Chines adventurism, complete with military outposts and expanded leverage in various countries.

“Ground zero for this competition is in the developing world is Africa. I have spent much time with African governments and business leaders. All have told me America is just not there to compete. I applaud the Administration for its new Prosper Africa efforts and know that this legislation is key to its success.

“I can think of no better antidote to combat this predatory influence than unleashing the vitality of American values through our private sector.  I naturally think of the world-class tech and energy companies in my own district and home state of Texas.

“Creating more international opportunities for American businesses will help push back on growing Chinese influence across the globe.

“It is time for America to fully wake up and get on the field, or we may ask ourselves later why we did not do more to contain the Chinese threat.

“For these reasons, the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act is a critical initiative that deserves our unanimous support.

“With that Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.”


For a press release on the bill’s introduction, click here