The US Senate has given strong support to a bill on Tuesday that mandates US corporations to report their investments in Chinese technologies such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence to federal agencies.
With a vote of 91 to 6, the 100-member Senate approved the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA, which sets policies for the Department of Defense, is anticipated to be enacted as law later this year.
Taking a firm stance against China is one of the few issues where both sides of the divided US Congress are in agreement. Numerous bills have been introduced by lawmakers to address the competition posed by China’s communist government and industries.
The amendment is a modified version of the Outbound Investment Transparency Act, put forward by Democratic Senator Bob Casey and Republican John Cornyn. Its purpose is to address the risks associated with US investments flowing to foreign adversaries like China.
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Senator Casey urged his colleagues to support the amendment, emphasizing the need for notification of outbound investments to comprehend the extent to which critical technology is being transferred to potential adversaries through these capital flows. Armed with this information, the US can begin to take control of its economic future.
In contrast to a previous version of the legislation introduced in 2021 that did not pass, the current measure focuses on notifying about certain outbound investments rather than reviewing or prohibiting specific deals. Moreover, it targets fewer industries.
In another move, the Senate voted 91 to 7 in favor of an amendment to the NDAA that strengthens federal reviews of foreign acquisitions of US farmland. In some instances, the amendment restricts Chinese, Russian, Iranian, or North Korean purchases of US farmland.
The final version of the NDAA, which authorizes a total of US$886 billion in defense spending, will be determined later this year.
It is expected that the Senate will pass its version, along with the amendments, during this week. Subsequently, the Senate bill will need to be reconciled with the bill passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month. This compromise measure must then pass both chambers again and be signed by President Joe Biden to be enacted as law.