Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are pushing for the federal government to increase its watch on mounting Chinese investment in the U.S.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the common goal is for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) to be used more aggressively, especially since Chinese investment in the U.S. tripled last year to a record $45.6 billion.
While many politicians see some of the purchases as a threat to national security, others don’t agree that China should be able to invest in the U.S. so heavily while many U.S. companies continue to face restrictions in China.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) is writing legislation to strengthen the authority of CFIUS and require the multiagency body to consider economic factors while assessing foreign deals.
Other lawmakers are looking to make changes in other areas, including altering the current makeup or reporting structure of CFIUS, which is currently led by the Treasury.
People familiar with the matter told WSJ that the Trump administration has plans to provide CFIUS with more scope to reject technology deals — however, it is still unknown how broadly that power will go if put in place.
As Mario Mancuso, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, pointed out, China is both a strategic competitor and economic competitor to the U.S., which is something the federal government is still attempting to understand.
“What people have discovered in the past is that when you try to punish China in one area, you’re inadvertently damaging yourself in another area,” J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. Ambassador to China, explained.