Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Navy veteran and House Armed Services Committee member, will introduce a bill on Tuesday to prevent the Chinese government from making “predatory” investments in American companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Banks said in a statement:
Our job is to ensure the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t profit off a pandemic of their own making. President Trump won an election vowing to stop China from taking advantage of Americans. I am glad to be working with him now to stop Chinese predation.
The Restricting Predatory Acquisition During COVID-19 Act would expand the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review purchases of American companies by companies with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the coronavirus pandemic.
CFIUS is a committee staffed by members of the administration that reviews certain foreign investments and real estate transactions to determine their effect on U.S. national security.
Specifically, the bill would increase the scope of cases CFIUS reviews and sends to the president prior to a financial transaction.
It would also prevent companies with ties to the Chinese government from owning more than 51 percent of shares in critical infrastructure, organizations engaged in production and dissemination of news media, or entities otherwise determined to be critical to national security, critical infrastructure, or culturally significant by the president.
According to a May 2019 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Chinese foreign direct investment in U.S. companies is a primary method for its government to acquire valuable technology, intellectual property, and knowhow, in its bid to become the world’s leading superpower.
According to a report summary:
These efforts are often made at the direction of and with assistance from the Chinese government, part of Beijing’s larger effort to develop its domestic market and become a global leader in a wide range of technologies. These acquisition attempts frequently target advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and virtual reality, which are still in the early stages of development but could provide dual military and civilian capabilities in the future.
Banks was one of the first members of the House to raise alarm bells that the coronavirus was a serious threat, as Democrats celebrated impeachment.
He has taken a leading role in the House on holding the Chinese government accountable for allowing the coronavirus to spread across the world from its epicenter in Wuhan, China.