US lawmakers want Biden to take action on outbound investment to China

Congress has been considering legislation that would give the US government sweeping new powers to block billions in US investment into China. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - A group of lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator John Cornyn on Tuesday called on US President Joe Biden to issue an executive order on outbound investments to China and others.

Congress has been considering legislation that would give the US government sweeping new powers to block billions in US investment into China. The proposal was removed from bipartisan legislation to subsidise US semiconductor chips manufacturing and research in a Bill approved in August.

The lawmakers, including Democrat Bill Pascrell and Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, said in a letter to Mr Biden that as negotiations continue, "our national security cannot afford to wait", and said that the president should take immediate action "to safeguard our national security and supply chain resiliency on outbound investments to foreign adversaries".

White House national security official Peter Harrell said earlier this month that the Biden administration has not yet made a final decision on a potential outbound investment mechanism regulating US investments in China.

Mr Harrell stressed that any measure targeting such investments should be narrowly tailored to address gaps in existing US authorities and specific national security risks.

The lawmakers wrote: "When we cede our manufacturing power and technological know-how to foreign adversaries, we are hurting our economy, our global competitiveness, American workers, industry and national security. Government action on this front is long overdue to address the scope and magnitude of these serious risks we face as a country."

The proposed legislation is intended to give the government greater visibility into US investments.

It would be mandatory to notify the government of investments that may fall under the new regulations, and the United States could use existing authorities to stop investments, or mitigate risk.

If no action is taken, the investment can move forward. REUTERS

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