Representative photo: Reuters
WASHINGTON: An influential American Congressman on Wednesday introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives that would prevent predatory investments of American companies by the Chinese government.
Introduced by Congressman Jim Banks, member of the House Armed Services Committee, 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 by companies with ties to the Chinese Communist Party during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our job is to ensure the Chinese Communist Party does not 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,” Banks said in a statement.
The bill proposes to increase the scope of cases the CFIUS reviews and sends to the president prior to a financial transaction.
It will prevent companies with ties to the People’s Republic of China from owning more than 51 per cent of shares in the critical infrastructure, as defined by the Defense Production Act of 1950, organisations engaged in the production and dissemination of news media, or entities otherwise determined to be critical to national security, critical infrastructure, or culturally significant by the president.
Congressman Sharice Davids on Wednesday introduced a legislation to rapidly increase the supply of equipment like face masks, hospital gowns, ventilators and testing materials needed to fight the coronavirus and keep the frontline workers safe. The bill would also promote manufacturing these goods in the United States.
“We have seen first hand that relying on China to produce the vast majority of medical equipment we use in the US is a big problem,” Davids said.
“It has led to shortages, price gouging and a surge in counterfeit products. Companies across Kansas want to help fill the gaps in production, but too often they have faced barriers that have stopped them in their tracks. The Supplies Act will cut the government red tape, keep people at work and help companies, so they can help us,” Davids said.
In the Senate, US Senators Mitt Romney, Jim Risch, Todd Young, David Perdue and Marco Rubio introduced the Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) Act of 2020 to review and improve the accountability and effectiveness of US participation in international organisations.
The MAR Act would establish an inter-agency task force with peer review to conduct an evaluation of how well multilateral institutions carry out their missions and how they serve American interests and taxpayers.
“It is in our nation’s best interest that we have accountability and transparency of our investments in international organisations,” Romney said.
“As China pursues its predatory path on the world stage, this legislation can help equip the US to prioritise our investments in a way that aligns with our foreign policy objectives and counters China’s efforts to gain influence in international organisations,” he said.
“As the world’s most generous humanitarian and development donor, it is important that the United States knows where our taxpayers’ dollars are going,” Risch said.
“The MAR Act will require a report from a Multilateral Review Task Force, which will provide the necessary insight to make informed decisions on how to prioritise our financial contributions. As we have seen most recently with questionable actions taken by the World Health Organisation in response to the spread of COVID-19, it is critically important to have accountability and oversight of our assistance,” he added.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shed new light on China’s disturbing behaviour and growing influence within international, multilateral organisations. As China’s influence grows in these organisations, US taxpayers are on the hook and we must ensure our tax dollars are being spent to advance America’s interests both at home and abroad.
“We are facing significant global challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation and global economic crises, but these challenges do not mean that we should blindly contribute to these organisations,” Senator Young said.
“Americans deserve both transparency and accountability for how their tax dollars are being spent and by establishing this new Multilateral Review Task Force, we will be able to better understand and determine whether our interests and values are being upheld and advanced by organisations like the World Health Organisation,” he added.