WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation to review foreign investments in the United States to ensure they are in the long-term economic interests of the U.S.
Recent patterns of foreign investment in the U.S. have raised concerns that overseas competitors, including state-owned enterprises, are pursuing investments to make strategic gains in the U.S. market or to benefit their own domestic industries. No current mechanism allows the U.S. government to evaluate foreign investment for its long-term economic benefit to the U.S. The Senators’ bill would require a review of certain foreign investments to determine if they are in the economic interest of the U.S., not a foreign individual or foreign government.
“Foreign investments should lead to good-paying jobs in Chillicothe and Chardon – not huge payouts for the Chinese government,” said Brown. “State-owned enterprises and foreign investors determined to put American companies out of business should not be able to invest in our economy at the expense of American workers. It’s simple – before we do business with a foreign entity, let’s make sure it will create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.”
“President Trump committed to putting a stop to U.S. industry’s being taken advantage of by foreign companies and countries,” said Grassley. “This bipartisan legislation is an opportunity to fulfill that pledge by empowering the Administration to block foreign investment that threatens the United States’ long-term economic interests. U.S. companies and workers are responsible for some of the greatest technological, scientific and industrial achievements in history. Foreign companies backed by cheap state-sponsored capital looking to undercut those achievements do the United States real harm. Given a level playing field, U.S. industry can compete anywhere in the world. This bill further equips the Administration with the ability to fight back against unfair trade barriers to U.S. exports and businesses. Europe, Canada, Australia and China have similar investment screens already in place. The United States shouldn’t be left in the dust. We should follow suit.”
The United States Foreign Investment Review Act would:
- Require review of certain proposed foreign investments for their impact on the U.S. economy and jobs. The bill would require a review of any foreign investment that results in foreign control of any U.S. entity worth more than $1 billion, and a review of any transaction by a state-owned enterprise that would result in control of a U.S. entity worth more than $50 million.
- Create a process to efficiently review investments. Within 15 days, the Secretary of Commerce must approve or prohibit the transaction or inform the parties to the transaction that additional time is needed to complete the review. If the Secretary requires an extended review of the investment, a decision to approve, prohibit, or require modification of the transaction is due within 45 days of receiving written notification. The Secretary has the option to request 15 additional days for the extended review, but all transactions are reviewed and acted on within 60 days of receiving written notification.
- Give Congress the ability to request additional reviews. The bill also gives the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee or House Ways and Means Committee the opportunity to request that the Secretary of Commerce review investments of any value.
- Ensure a transparent review. Under the legislation, the Secretary of Commerce must make all decisions public and submit an annual report to Congress on results of transactions reviewed. It also calls for a 10-day public comment period for each investment subject to an extended review.