Trump Cracks Down on U.S. Investment in Chinese Military Firms

BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 1: (CHINA OUT) Security guard walk past the Chinese national flag at the Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution on March 1, 2008 in Beijing, China. From March 1, the Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution becomes the first national level museum which opens to the …
China Photos/Getty Images

President Donald Trump issued an executive order to prohibit U.S. investment in Chinese firms that are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, the White House announced Thursday.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order to protect American investors from funding Communist Chinese military companies, including those designated by the Department of Defense in June and August of 2020,” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement.

O’Brien added:

Many of these companies are publicly traded on stock exchanges around the world, and individual investors in the United States can unknowingly provide funds to them through passive institutional investment vehicles such as mutual funds and retirement plans. The President’s action serves to protect American investors from unintentionally providing capital that goes to enhancing the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Republic of China intelligence services, which routinely target American citizens and businesses through cyber operations, and directly threaten the critical infrastructure, economy, and military of America and its allies and partners around the world.

President Trump has no higher priority than the security of the American people.

The executive order addresses concerns by Republican members of Congress that American federal employees were investing in retirement plans that involved an index that included firms building China’s military.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a Navy veteran, introduced a bill in May that would prevent the Thrifts Savings Plan from being invested in Chinese or Russian companies and called on Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to look into the issue.

As Breitbart News previously reported, Trump at the time ordered that the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board not go forward with a plan to invest federal employees retirement savings in an international equities index that included these firms.

In January, Banks also raised awareness on state pension funds like CalPERS already being heavily invested in Chinese companies affiliated with the Chinese military and connected to human rights abuses.

When I came to DC, I was shocked to witness how U.S. taxpayers have been funding China’s rise for decades. One of the…

Posted by Congressman Jim Banks on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, also brought attention to the issue, taking over a similar bill sponsored by then-Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who is now the president’s chief of staff.

Thursday’s executive order, first reported by Reuters, could impact some of China’s biggest companies, including telecoms firms China Telecom Corp Ltd 0728.HK, China Mobile Ltd 0941.HK and surveillance equipment maker Hikvision 002415.SZ.

The order will prohibit any transactions by U.S. investors in their securities, starting January 11, 2020, according to Reuters.

Trump said in his executive order that he found China was “increasingly exploiting United States capital to resource and to enable the development and modernization of its military, intelligence, and other security apparatuses, which continues to allow the [People’s Republic of China] to directly threaten the United States homeland and United States forces overseas.”

 

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