Daily Management Review

Congress Is Trying to Stop China's Expansion in the US


China accelerated pace in buying US companies this year, and this begins to disturb the US lawmakers.

Pete Souza
Pete Souza
In February, 45 members of Congress sent a letter to the US Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment. The appeal contained their concerns about intentions of a group of Chinese investors to buy the Chicago exchange.

However, this is not the only deal, which keeps Congressmen on alert these days. Senator Sherrod Brown on Thursday wrote a letter to Finance Minister Jacob Lew, in which she expressed her concern regarding issues of the US national security after conclusion of the above transactions.

In addition to the deal with the Chicago Stock Exchange, this includes sale of Syngenta company to Chinese ChemChina for record $ 48 billion, sale of HNA Group Company to Ingram Micro for $ 6.3 billion, sales of Haier to GE for $ 5.4 billion, as well as buying of Zoomlion by Terex company for $ 4, 9 billion.

So far, 170 operations on mergers and acquisitions undertaken by Chinese companies with a total value of $ 105 billion have been carried out this year. This is about the same level as that in 2015.

Lawmakers are concerned that these transactions will give Chinese companies, many of which are subsidized by the Chinese government, access to confidential information in the sphere of high technologies.

On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley expressed concern that the Chinese ChemChina intends to merge with the Swiss company Syngenta, manufacturer of seeds, biotechnology division of which is based in the United States.

"Food and agricultural products are included in the country's infrastructure, so that prospect of this merger suggests the potential implications for the national security of the country", - he said.

Another, no less controversial, deal is the Chinese company Zoomlion buying industrial company Terex.

The lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Quigley, Congressman Duncan Hunter and Rep. Ryan Zinke, wrote a letter to the CFIUS, calling for a thorough analysis of the transaction.

Terex is a division of the US Department of Defense and national security issues, as well as the US Air Force, Army and Coast Guard and NASA. The letter emphasized the fact that Terex has access to confidential information relating to the United States and its military infrastructure.

"Analysis of the CFIUS must go beyond consideration of each individual transaction. It is necessary to address the entire issue of what influence can the United States have on the conclusion of such transactions", - says Brown’s letter.

CFIUS must carefully examine the question of the beneficial owners to ensure that state-owned enterprises will not hide behind front companies.

CFIUS must consider many different aspects of national security issues, not just the issue of acquisition of high technology, which may have wider implications and put national security at risk.

source: reuters.com