US Lawmakers Reach Pact to Strengthen Oversight of Foreign Investment

By Reuters
July 20, 2018 Updated: July 20, 2018

WASHINGTON—U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement that puts a measure to strengthen oversight of foreign investment from countries such as China into a must-pass defense policy bill, Representative Robert Pittenger’s office said on July 19.

The goal of the measure is to strengthen the inter-agency U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), which reviews mergers and stock purchases to ensure they do not harm national security.

It also addresses concerns that Chinese companies, many with government links, have tried to buy U.S. high-end semiconductor makers and other tech firms. The U.S. Defense Department fears losing America’s technological edge in warfare.

Pittenger, a Republican congressman from North Carolina and chief sponsor of the measure in the House, said in a statement that the “legislation will safeguard America’s proprietary dual-use technologies by drastically improving our foreign investment review process.”

He gave no details on what changes might have been made to the measure.

The Senate and U.S. House of Representatives had passed similar bills to strengthen the inter-agency panel, which is led by the U.S. Treasury. The Senate put its version in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which authorizes military spending.

Lawmakers hope to have the NDAA on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the month.

The CFIUS measures are among a series of proposals being considered by the White House and Congress to address what it sees as China‘s unfair trade and market access practices. Others include tariffs on goods ranging from aluminum to automobiles, and efforts to prevent the growth in the United States of Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE.

Reporting by Diane Bartz