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New US slap against China: Tighter curbs on tech investment

Article Source: NUODI, ND Release Time:2018-08-31 Browse:
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Congress is also directing the committee to go beyond specific cases to identify patterns in foreign investment — if, for example, Chinese companies are acquiring a specific technology — and to work with U.S. allies that share its concerns about Beijing's high-tech ambitions.

"Treasury can now share information," said Rod Hunter, a partner at the Baker McKenzie law firm and a former White House economic adviser. "They used to have to do all kinds of backflips and workarounds with allied governments to deal with this sort of issue."

The new law also strengthens the Commerce Department's oversight of high-tech exports. Government agencies will identify sensitive "emerging and foundational technologies" that will be subject to tougher export controls.

Hunter said he thought the stricter oversight of high-tech exports could potentially impose a bigger impact on China than the tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on Beijing's exports to the United States.

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Still, the new measures could burden U.S. companies that will find it harder to attract Chinese investment or to share with Chinese partners or customers technology that the U.S. government might deem sensitive.

"It could be that we're pushing American tech firms out of China," said Derek Scissors, China specialist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The crackdown reflects a sharp reversal in U.S. attitudes toward Chinese investment. From virtually nothing in 2000, Chinese direct investment in the United States (including new plants and offices and acquisitions of American companies) reached a record $46 billion in 2016, according to the Rhodium Group research firm.

Chinese investors sank money into U.S. companies involved in artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain technology, which is used to do business in cryptocurrencies. U.S. policymakers began to worry about what the Chinese were up to, especially after leaders in Beijing made their ambitions clear: They intend to nurture homegrown Chinese companies that will contend for global dominance in such fields as electric cars, robotics and medical devices.

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