Date
13 December 2017
US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (center) is pushing measures that could lead to tighter scrutiny of Chinese technology deals. Photo: Reuters
US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (center) is pushing measures that could lead to tighter scrutiny of Chinese technology deals. Photo: Reuters

US lawmakers seek tighter scrutiny of Chinese investment

Emboldened by Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric on trade, American lawmakers are mounting efforts to tighten the government’s scrutiny of surging Chinese investment in the US, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The efforts, which involve lawmakers from both parties, are yet to coalesce around any one plan, but the common goal is to see the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) put to more aggressive use, the report said.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are said to be preparing legislation to strengthen the authority of the CFIUS, a multi-agency body led by the Treasury that can recommend the president block foreign deals on national security grounds.

The move comes as Chinese investment in the US is estimated to have tripled last year to a record US$45.6 billion.

Lawmakers say some of the purchases threaten national security.

Some also argue that the Chinese shouldn’t be able to invest in America freely while US firms face restrictions in China, the report said.

Cornyn is pushing measures that would require CFIUS to heighten scrutiny of Chinese technology deals but wouldn’t expand its remit beyond national security issues.

Schumer is preparing a broader proposal that would require the agency to also consider economic factors when assessing foreign deals, an idea that would fundamentally alter its mandate, according to the Journal.

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