After several months of back-and-forth, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed on a consensus version of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) on July 23. FIRRMA reforms the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process currently used to evaluate and address national security-related concerns related to foreign investment into the United States.
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If one defines technology as anything that extends human capability, it takes only a short logical leap to conclude that nearly any advantage in technological capability over a competitor entails potential military advantage over that competitor.
Since its creation by President Gerald Ford, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has acted as a gatekeeper, working to ensure that foreign acquisitions do not impair U.S. national security.
Late last month, I wrote about the draft proposal from the Trump administration to nationalize the American 5G network as a way of protecting it against foreign influence. Though I was skeptical of the methods chosen, I was more appreciative of the assessment of the problem:
Should Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOE) be free to take control of U.S. companies or companies that otherwise affect the United States’s national security interests? That’s one of the questions tackled in November by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), and one that is regularly faced by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Earlier this month, a number of federal employees were surprised by a letter they received in the mail: a letter from their professional liability insurance provider informing them that it, Wright USA, had been acquired by a Chinese company.
Newsweek’s Jeff Stein has an informative article on this development, available here. A quick preview, according to Stein’s reporting: