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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and nine other Republican senators in a letter urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to investigate how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has utilized consumer payment systems to steal Americans’ private data.

“We are concerned with the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing efforts to expand its footprint in the United States’ financial system and the global payments market. The measures the CCP is taking undermine U.S. foreign policy, threaten Americans’ sensitive financial and consumer data privacy, and violate international trade practices,” the senators wrote.

The senators urged the Biden administration to evaluate the CCP’s unfair commercial practices toward U.S. companies and review potential U.S. sanctions gaps related to China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System.

They explained that China has infiltrated American payment networks through the proliferation of China UnionPay, the world’s largest payment network, which is currently accepted by 80% of U.S. merchants and 90% of automated teller machines.

“It is no secret that the CCP seeks to secure a global leadership role in the setting of financial standards and to reduce the world’s reliance on the U.S. dollar. . . . Furthermore, the Chinese government has increasingly required businesses to share their data with CCP officials, including sensitive financial data and personally identifiable information (“or PII”). China has a long history of using its financial system to advance its geopolitical interests, all while Chinese payments networks are not subject to the same regulatory oversight as U.S. payments networks,” the lawmakers stated.

“The risks to data privacy, cybersecurity, and financial stability must be accounted for and treated accordingly,” they added.

The senators also asked Yellen and Tai to review U.S. sanction authority to see how Congress could fill any potential gaps the CCP could exploit to harm U.S. businesses and access Americans’ data.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.