By Printus LeBlanc
China has been at war with the U.S. for decades now, just not the kinetic war Americans are accustomed to. China has used trade, information technology, and currency manipulation as potent weapons to gain military and economic parity with the U.S. quickly. It looks like we finally have a White House that understands that and is taking a hard stand against China. Not only is the Trump administration taking it to the Communist Chinese government in trade, but it is also using the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to blunt China’s strategic goals on the U.S. mainland.
China is extremely adept at warfare. What we in the U.S. might call foreign relations, diplomacy, or trade, China sees as another form of warfare and a means to an end. The last several administrations have not recognized the path the Communist government is on and have failed to confront them. CFIUS, in particular, has failed to protect U.S. national security interests adequately.
CFIUS is an inter-agency body that reviews national security implications of foreign investment in U.S. companies or operations. The Secretary of the Treasury is Chair of the committee with a nine-member panel. The Committee also includes five offices that appear at committee events, depending on the subject matter.
The committee has been at the center of several horrible decisions in recent administrations. In 1995 CFIUS allowed the sale of Magnequench to San Huan New Material and China National Nonferrous Metals Import and Export Company (CNNMIEC), a Chinese government consortium. Magnequench was the leading rare earth metal magnet company in the U.S. at the time with the military being one of its biggest customers.
The sale allowed China to take the intellectual property of the company and create a manufacturing base that powers its economy today. The primary reason so much electronic equipment is made in China is because of this sale. Everything from military equipment to cell phones all have rare earth element parts made in China. The Communist nation used this leverage to force manufacturers to relocate, bringing with them millions of jobs and trillions in revenue.
CFIUS was also involved in the Uranium One debacle. When Russian companies, read Russian government, attempted to corner the worldwide market on Uranium. In 2010, Uranium One announced it reached a deal with a Russian firm, ARMZ, allowing the company to acquire a majority share in the Canadian company. Uranium One had two mines in Wyoming, producing 20 percent of U.S. Uranium. The Russian company, ARMZ, is part of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned regulatory body of the Russian nuclear industry.
When CFIUS reviewed the purchase, it found no problems, despite there being an ongoing corruption investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It found no problems despite the obvious conflicts of interests with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Shortly after the deal was announced, former President Clinton gave a speech to Renaissance Capital, a Kremlin-tied bank, for $500,000, one of the most substantial fees he ever earned. The bank was also pushing the stock of Uranium One calling it, “the best play in the uranium markets.”
With felonies being investigated and an apparent conflict of interest with one of the Committee members, the sale was approved. By 2013, Rosatom had full ownership of Uranium One and 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies, which the U.S. already has to import. What makes the situation worse, it was recently discovered, despite the Obama administration’s promise the uranium would not be exported, the deadly mineral was exported to Canada and then on to Europe and Asia.
Now that there is an administration taking national security seriously, CFIUS is once again protecting the U.S. national interests. When Shanghai-based China COSCO submitted a bid for Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), it was brought to the attention of CFIUS. In 2012, OOCL signed a $4.6 billion lease to develop the Long Beach Port property, tripling the size of the port’s container capability.
Letting a company run by the Chinese government operate a port in the heart of America’s military-industrial complex on the West Coast doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Thankfully, CFIUS agreed and began an investigation. On Sunday night, the pressure broke China COSCO, with the communist-controlled venture announcing it has agreed to sell the Long Beach terminal to a third party, signing a national security agreement with the U.S. on July 6.
President Trump and the members of the CFIUS board are to be commended for taking a hard line with China. For too long U.S. policymakers ignored the problem brewing in the East. It is reassuring to see an administration take national security seriously and put America First.
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Printus LeBlanc is the Legislative Director at Americans for Limited Government.