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U.S. Government Bolsters Foreign Investment Regulator, Impacting TikTok and U.S. Steel Sale

U.S. Government Bolsters Foreign Investment Regulator, Impacting TikTok and U.S. Steel Sale

Apr 12, 2024

U.S. Government Bolsters Foreign Investment Regulator, Impacting TikTok and U.S. Steel Sale

The U.S. government unveiled a proposal on Thursday to enhance the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency panel responsible for reviewing foreign investments for national security concerns. This move could have significant implications for high-profile cases such as the future of social media platform TikTok and the sale of U.S. Steel Corp.

The proposed regulations would empower CFIUS with greater authority to investigate transactions and enforce compliance. Specifically, the new rules would allow the committee to collect more detailed information on transactions, issue subpoenas to third parties, and levy monetary penalties for non-compliance up to $5 million, a significant increase from the current cap of $250,000.

Paul Rose, the assistant secretary for investment security at the Treasury, emphasized the intent behind the proposal, stating, "The new rules are intended to more effectively deter violations, promote compliance, and swiftly address national security risks in connection with CFIUS reviews."

The timing of these proposed changes coincides with the $14 billion planned acquisition of U.S. Steel Corp by Nippon Steel, which has raised concerns from CFIUS. President Joe Biden has publicly opposed the deal, advocating for U.S. Steel to remain "domestically owned and operated," citing the importance of maintaining strong American steel companies.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, during his state visit to Washington, expressed optimism for a positive outcome regarding the acquisition, which has been criticized for potentially weakening U.S. economic defenses against China.

CFIUS has been particularly focused on transactions involving entities with ties to countries like China. The committee's mandate includes the authority to recommend that the president block or suspend deals considered threats to national security.

Additionally, CFIUS is under scrutiny to conclude its national security review of TikTok, the popular social media app owned by China-based ByteDance. TikTok disclosed last year that CFIUS had raised the possibility of a U.S. ban if ByteDance did not divest its interests in the app. Concurrently, U.S. lawmakers are advancing legislation that would mandate this divestment, a bill that President Biden has indicated he would sign.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who chairs CFIUS, reported that Chinese officials discussed TikTok during her talks in China. Yellen affirmed the administration's commitment to addressing national security concerns linked to sensitive personal data, advocating for a balanced approach given that many U.S. social apps are not permitted in China.

The Epoch Times Article


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