WASHINGTON — President Biden is set to sign an executive order on Thursday aimed at blocking Chinese investment in U.S. technology and strengthening federal powers to limit access to citizens’ personal data. said a government official. Tensions with Beijing.
The new order is designed to highlight the actions of the U.S. secret Foreign Investment Committee created by Congress nearly half a century ago. For years, the commission’s powers were largely limited to blocking foreign acquisitions of US companies that could directly affect national security, such as military contractors.
But the new order directs the commission, known by the acronym CFIUS, to focus on certain types of deals that give foreign powers access to key technologies Biden has identified as vital to U.S. economic growth. is doing.
According to a White House summary, the committee will consider cases affecting “microelectronics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and biomanufacturing, quantum computing, advanced clean energy, and climate adaptation technologies.” China isn’t specifically mentioned, but these are all key areas of the “Made in China 2025” movement that President Xi Jinping started seven years before him, and that the United States is now dedicating more federal resources to China. It is also the technology that we are using. .
Mr. Biden’s order has been anticipated for months, but money has been pouring into critical technology, especially since the industrial policy bill recently passed by Congress didn’t include a priority. But while the order does not regulate foreign “outbound investments” by American companies, it seems likely that the Biden administration will seek new authorities to regulate it. There were concerns that China would require companies to hand over technology as part of the consideration for allowing entry into the market.
“For China, this job is about survival,” Nigel Inkster, former Director of Operations and Intelligence at the British Secret Service, wrote earlier this week in the New York Times Opinion section, suggesting that China’s intelligence Technology by staff or manufacturing technology that accelerates the Beijing way. It refers to China’s intelligence law, which mandates Chinese citizens to assist intelligence agencies, usually covertly.
The executive order partly formalizes a new, broader interpretation of the commission’s powers that has been in place for several years. White House officials say Biden has ordered the CFIUS group to focus on critical technology, but they don’t believe the permit law needs to be amended.
However, over the past seven years or so, the power of this inter-agency group has grown significantly over time, and now has the power to block even a small number of investments. One reason for this is partly due to concerns about Chinese state-owned enterprises setting up venture capital funds. Get a first look at new technology in Silicon Valley and beyond without buying a majority stake.
A White House statement said the new order would be characterized not by scale but by the technology itself, including “advancements and applications of technology that may undermine national security.”