The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Leach] is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. LEACH. Mr. Speaker, today, along with Congressman Bachus of Alabama, I am introducing the International Counterfeiting Deterrence Act of 1993, to protect the integrity of the Nation's financial system from international counterfeiting and economic terrorism.
It has been reported that billions of dollars' worth of American currency around the world is fake and that as much as 200 million dollars' worth has already been identified. What was once an irritating problem has blossomed into an Achilles heel for our economy. Recent news reports show terrorists in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon mass producing $100 bills. These terrorists have refined the process so that counterfeit $100 bills are near perfect. Intelligence sources have indicated that counterfeit bills are being used to finance international terrorism and to purchase illicit weapons from international arms markets. International counterfeiters are operating on an unprecedented scale and their activities have become a serious national security problem.
I am introducing this legislation in response to the increasing international threat to our economy and our national security from counterfeiters. The bill establishes an anticounterfeit strike force, chaired by the Secretary of Treasury and is charged with coordinating U.S. policy for the prevention and detection of international counterfeiting. Specifically, the strike force must determine the extent and probable effect of the counterfeiting of U.S. currency outside the United States and the extent to which it is engaged in as a form of economic terrorism. The bill also authorizes the Secretary to propose and enter into international agreements to promote international coordination in preventing, detecting, and prosecuting counterfeiters. The strike force is also required to study counterfeiting deterrence, detection, and enforcement techniques, and report to Congress within 18 months. In order to better coordinate U.S. overseas policy toward international counterfeiting, the strike force would be authorized to establish foreign offices.
The heart of the bill is in its various sanction provisions, one of which authorizes the President to issue Executive orders prohibiting depository institutions in the United States from transferring funds or accepting deposits from any person of a foreign country identified as engaging in significant amounts of counterfeiting. Other provisions authorize severe criminal penalties that apply to individuals within the United States and to individuals located elsewhere. Finally, the bill requires certain sanctions against countries engaged in State-supported counterfeiting.
In the process of development of this bill, Mr. Speaker, over the past 3 months input was solicited from all relevant Federal agencies. The bill is intended to send a clear message to international counterfeiters that the United States is taking counterfeit detection seriously. We plan to marshal all appropriate intelligence networks and law enforcement agencies to eradicate counterfeiting and preserve the integrity of our money supply.
I urge my colleagues to join me in cosponsoring this measure, and I insert in the Record a section-by-section description of the bill:
Section 1. Short title.
The International Counterfeiting Deterrence Act of 1993.
Section 2. International counterfeiting deterrence strike force.
Establishes an International Counterfeiting Deterrence Strike Force (Strike Force) to be chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) with representatives from: Treasury, BEP, FED, Secret Service, FBI, CIA, State Department, Attorney General's Office.
Requires the Strike Force to determine the extent and probable effect of the counterfeiting of U.S. currency outside the U.S., and the extent to which it is engaged in as a form of economic terrorism and report to Congress annually.
Authorizes the Secretary to propose international agreements to achieve international coordination and cooperation in combating counterfeiting.
Authorizes the Strike Force to seek assistance from the intelligence community and the Secretary of Defense in carrying out its functions.
Section 3. Studies of counterfeit deterrence and enhanced detection and enforcement techniques.
Requires the Strike Force to do the following: (1) study available technological devices and methods used to enhance detection and enforcement techniques; (2) determine how much counterfeit currency has been detected and its cost to the U.S. government; (3) analyze and recommend methods and technologies used in the production of Federal Reserve notes; (4) study the demand for U.S. currency, to what extent its use is limited to $100 Federal Reserve notes and whether or not $100 Federal Reserve notes should be abolished.
Requires a report to Congress 18 months after the date of enactment. Allows certain information to be withheld if its disclosure would interfere with enforcement activities.
Section 4. Changes in design of currency.
Establishes a Currency Design Commission composed of the Secretary, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If any member of the Commission proposes a need for a design change for counterfeit deterrence purposes, and two of the three members agree, the Secretary is authorized to implement the design change.
Section 5. Foreign offices authorized.
Authorizes the Strike Force to establish foreign offices to better coordinate U.S. overseas policy toward international counterfeiters.
Section 6. Anticounterfeiting training team.
Requires the Director of the Secret Service to establish a team of experts to provide training to foreign governments in detecting and prosecuting counterfeiting.
Section 7. Negotiations with countries in which a significant amount of counterfeiting of U.S. currency occurs.
Authorizes the Secretary to negotiate and to enter into international agreements with foreign countries identified as engaging in significant amounts of counterfeiting, to share information, technical expertise, and ensure cooperation between law enforcement officers in the prosecuting of counterfeiting activities.
Requires an interim report to Congress and a final report on the outcome of the negotiations and on foreign countries where there is reason to believe that significant counterfeiting is occurring and for which no agreement was reached.
Authorizes the President to issue Executive Orders prohibiting Federal Reserve banks, depository institutions and other person engaged within the U.S. in the transfer of funds from participating in any transfer of funds or accepting deposits from any person of a foreign country identified as engaging in significant amounts of counterfeiting. Also by Executive Order, foreign countries identified as engaging in significant amounts of counterfeiting, would also be prohibited from participating in any transfer of funds or from maintaining a deposit account in the U.S.
Authorizes criminal penalties, fines and/or imprisonment for not more than 15 years, for violations of any Executive order.
Section 8. Awards authorized for counterfeiting cases.
Authorizes the Strike Force to grant awards for actions that lead to convictions of persons for violations of U.S. anti-counterfeiting laws.
Section 9. Counterfeiting U.S. currency abroad.
Allows those outside the U.S., who engage in counterfeiting of U.S. currency, to be fined and/or imprisoned for not more than 15 years.
Section 10. Sanctions against State-supported counterfeiting.
Requires the Strike Force to recommend sanctions against any foreign country engaging in counterfeiting or who knowingly or recklessly permits counterfeiting to occur.
Requires the Export-Import Bank not to guarantee, insure, extend credit or service to any country engaging in counterfeiting or who knowingly or recklessly permits counterfeiting to occur.
Amends the Export Administration Act to include licensing for countries involved in State-supported counterfeiting.
Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to prohibit foreign assistance to countries involved in State-supported counterfeiting.