[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 70 (Thursday, May 7, 2009)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1105]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. MARK STEVEN KIRK

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 7, 2009

  Mr. KIRK. Madam Speaker, today I am proud to join my good friend, the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Larsen), in unveiling the bipartisan 
U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda of 2009. This agenda includes four 
legislative priorities to expand America's influence in China and 
increase American competitiveness in the global marketplace.
  As co-chairs of the bipartisan House U.S.-China Working Group, we are 
working in Congress to elevate the sophistication of our debate on 
U.S.-China issues. The U.S.-China Competitiveness Agenda provides 
Congress with a constructive legislative package to expand U.S. 
engagement with China while supporting key domestic and foreign policy 
  Along with two other Working Group members, Congresswoman Susan Davis 
(D-Calif.) and Congressman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), we are introducing 
bipartisan legislation to expand America's diplomatic infrastructure in 
China, boost support to small- and medium-sized businesses exporting to 
the China market, increase funds for domestic Chinese language 
instruction and build new cooperative energy ties between the U.S. and 
  The U.S. has one embassy and five consulates in China, leaving more 
than 200 cities with a population greater than one million people with 
little to no American representation. Additionally, while 60 percent of 
U.S. exports go to the Asia-Pacific market, the U.S. contributes 100 
times more dollars to Europe's Organization for Economic Cooperation 
and Development than to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.
  My legislation, the U.S.-China Diplomatic Expansion Act of 2009, 
authorizes the construction of a new consulate in Fuzhou and 10 smaller 
diplomatic posts in cities with more than a million people. The bill 
triples funding for public diplomacy, boosts funding for a range of 
language, student and teacher exchange programs, increases funding for 
rule of law initiatives and more than triples the U.S. contribution to 
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.
  If we are serious about expanding export promotion services, 
defending intellectual property rights, improving consumer product 
safety and enhancing economic competitiveness, we need a diplomatic 
infrastructure in China that reflects those priorities.
  I am proud to co-sponsor three other bipartisan bills in the U.S.-
China Competitiveness Agenda, including Mr. Larsen's U.S.-China Market 
Engagement and Export Promotion Act of 2009, Ms. Davis's U.S.-Chinese 
Language Engagement Act of 2009 and Mr. Israel's U.S.-China Energy 
Cooperation Act of 2009.
  Mr. Larsen's bill would help states establish export promotion 
offices in China and create a new China Market Advocate program at U.S. 
Export Assistance Centers around the nation. The bill provides 
assistance to small businesses for China trade missions and authorizes 
grants for Chinese business education programs.
  I strongly support the U.S.-China Market Engagement and Export 
Promotion Act because we need innovative programs that support our 
small business exports and arm them with the tools they need to succeed 
in China.
  Roughly 200 million students are learning English in China today. By 
contrast, only about 50,000 primary and secondary school students study 
Chinese in America. Ms. Davis's bill increases Chinese cultural studies 
and language acquisition for elementary, high school and college-age 
students. Grants would be available to fund university joint venture 
programs, virtual cultural exchanges with Chinese schools and intensive 
summer language instruction programs.
  We have more than just a trade deficit with China--we also have a 
knowledge deficit. That is why I strongly support the U.S.-Chinese 
Language Engagement Act. We need additional funding for domestic 
Chinese language programs, educational exchanges and Chinese teacher 
exchanges to fix this knowledge imbalance.
  To create green jobs in America and fight global climate change, we 
must expand energy cooperation between the U.S. and China. Mr. Israel's 
bill authorizes new grants to fund U.S.-China energy and climate change 
education programs, along with joint research and development of carbon 
capture, sequestration technology, improved energy efficiency, and 
renewable energy sources.
  In my view, China's connections to unstable energy markets like Iran, 
Sudan and Venezuela could set a foreign policy collision course with 
the United States. I strongly support the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation 
Act. To protect our environment and avoid future conflict, we need 
creative programs to boost U.S.-China energy cooperation.
  I want to thank my colleagues for their hard work on this bipartisan 
agenda. I urge my colleagues to cosponsor all four bills and move 
quickly to enact this legislation into law.