(1)The burden of external debt has become a major impediment to economic growth and poverty reduction in many of the world’s poorest countries.
(2)Until recently, the United States Government and other official creditors sought to address this problem by rescheduling loans and in some cases providing limited debt reduction.
(3)Despite such efforts, the cumulative debt of many of the world’s poorest countries continued to grow beyond their capacity to repay.
(4)In 1997, the Group of Seven, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund adopted the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), a commitment by the international community that all multilateral and bilateral creditors, acting in a coordinated and concerted fashion, would reduce poor country debt to a sustainable level.
(5)The HIPC Initiative is currently undergoing reforms to address concerns raised about country conditionality, the amount of debt forgiven, and the allocation of savings realized through the debt forgiveness program to ensure that the Initiative accomplishes the goals of economic growth and poverty alleviation in the world’s poorest countries.
(b) Sense of the Congress
It is the sense of the Congress that—
(1)Congress and the President should work together, without undue delay and in concert with the international community, to make comprehensive debt relief available to the world’s poorest countries in a manner that promotes economic growth and poverty alleviation;
(2)this program of bilateral and multilateral debt relief should be designed to strengthen and expand the private sector, encourage increased trade and investment, support the development of free markets, and promote broad-scale economic growth in beneficiary countries;
(3)this program of debt relief should also support the adoption of policies to alleviate poverty and to ensure that benefits are shared widely among the population, such as through initiatives to advance education, improve health, combat AIDS, and promote clean water and environmental protection;
(4)these debt relief agreements should be designed and implemented in a transparent manner and with the broad participation of the citizenry of the debtor country and should ensure that country circumstances are adequately taken into account;
(5)no country should receive the benefits of debt relief if that country does not cooperate with the United States on terrorism or narcotics enforcement, is a gross violator of the human rights of its citizens, or is engaged in conflict or spends excessively on its military; and
(6)in order to prevent adverse impact on a key industry in many developing countries, the International Monetary Fund must mobilize its own resources for providing debt relief to eligible countries without allowing gold to reach the open market, or otherwise adversely affecting the market price of gold.
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