WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury, as chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), issued temporary regulations to protect critical American technology and intellectual property from potentially harmful foreign acquisitions.
This new law effectively blocks strategic Chinese acquisition of sensitive American technology and infrastructure.
The new regulations are a result of Congressman Robert Pittenger’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which was signed into law by President Trump this August as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Treasury Department will implement pilot programs that expand CFIUS review into certain non-controlling investments in U.S. businesses involved in critical national security technology. Previously, China has used joint ventures and minority position investments to strategically gain access to sensitive technology under the guise of “business investments.”
Under FIRRMA, Treasury is authorized to conduct pilot programs prior to full implementation of the new law in 2020.
Congressman Pittenger’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act:
· Expands CFIUS jurisdiction to include joint ventures, minority position investments, and real estate transactions near military bases and other sensitive national security facilities.
· Updates CFIUS definition of “critical technologies” to include emerging technologies that could be essential for maintaining the U.S. technological advantage over countries that pose threats.
· Adds new national security factors to the review process.
· Strengthens the government’s ability to protect American “critical infrastructure” from foreign government disruption.
· Creates a mechanism for the Treasury Department to work with America’s allies to improve the foreign investment review process overseas, strengthening global security.
Congressman Pittenger and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn first introduced FIRRMA in November 2017. Their bipartisan legislation received strong pushback from businesses which have profited from China’s military build-up, but was endorsed by The White House, Defense Secretary Mattis, and five former Secretaries of Defense.
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