Sullivan, Senate Demand UN End China’s Charade as a “Developing Nation”

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate today voted unanimously in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) conditioning the Senate’s ratification of updates to the Montreal Protocol (known as the Kigali Amendment) on the U.S. taking action to remove China’s designation as a “developing nation.” In his remarks on the Senate floor prior to the amendment vote, Sen. Sullivan argued that China, by any fair measure, is not a “developing nation,” and should no longer be able to exploit UN concessions and aid–often funded by U.S. taxpayers—to comply with international agreements, like the Montreal Protocol. Sullivan said the larger, unfair, non-reciprocal relationship between the United States and China must change.

“There is an element of this treaty that raises a principle that is at stake right now that is so important with regard to China, the United States, and the rest of the world,” said Sen. Sullivan. “This treaty continues to classify China as a ‘developing country.’ Why does that matter? It’s a facade. China is not a developing country. China is the second largest economy in the world. China is one of the most industrialized countries in the world. China has one of the biggest militaries in the world. The World Bank now even considers China to be an ‘upper middle income’ country. But what China keeps trying to do in international organizations and in international treaties is continue to get the same benefits afforded to truly developing countries. 

“In this treaty, the developing country ‘annex’ gives developing nations much more time to implement the treaty as well as funding from the U.N. to implement the treaty. Where does that funding come from? Most of it comes from the United States. So, in essence, right now, the way the treaty is organized, the United States gives the U.N. money to help implement the treaty, and a lot of that money is going to go to China. Does anyone in the U.S. Senate think that makes sense. Does anyone in America think that makes sense. It does not.” 

The updates to the Montreal Protocol, known as the “Kigali Amendment,” seek to completely phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), substances found in many household products that studies have shown erode the Earth’s ozone layer and contribute to an increase in global temperatures. The Kigali Amendment was ratified by the Senate on a vote of 69 to 27. Sen. Sullivan ultimately voted against ratification because the treaty abdicates U.S. sovereignty over environmental regulations to the U.N., and would increase costs for American consumers with negligible potential impacts on global climate. 

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