House unanimously passes bill to stop treating China as a 'developing country'

Even though China has the second-largest economy in the world some international organizations still classify it as a developing country.

Updated: March 28, 2023 - 10:30am

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The House unanimously passed a bill that would direct the Secretary of State to work on removing the "developing country" label placed on the People's Republic of China in international organizations and treaties.

The bill, titled the "PRC Is Not a Developing Country Act," was introduced by Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.) and passed Monday in a 415-0 vote.

The legislation calls for the Secretary of State to "pursue" changing the status of China, where possible, from a developing nation to an upper middle income, high income or developed country. The bill also said the secretary should work to ensure China "does not receive preferential treatment or assistance" from its label as a developing country.

Even though China has the second-largest economy in the world, with the U.S. as the first, some international organizations, such as the United Nations, still classify China as a developing country.

"For too long, China has used its status as a developing country to game the system," bill cosponsor Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) said after the legislation passed. "As the second largest economy and largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, it is time for China to stop evading its responsibilities to combat climate change and play a constructive role in the international arena."

Kim said: "We cannot let the People's Republic of China exploit countries in need and take advantage of international treaties and organizations."

Congress has cracked down on China in multiple votes this year as the communist country increasingly asserts its presence on the global stage.