Biden Signs Executive Order Blocking Chinese Investments In US Technology

President Joe Biden issued an executive order Thursday to increase scrutiny of foreign investments in areas considered critical for U.S. economic power, aimed at countering Chinese access to key technologies.

The order expands the duties of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to block foreign acquisition of firms that might give adversarial countries, especially China, insight into “microelectronics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and biomanufacturing, quantum computing, advanced clean energy, and climate adaptation technologies.” In a first for the executive branch, the order explicitly ties CFIUS activities to the national security priorities of the Biden administration, including supply chain resilience, data protection, cybersecurity and .

“Although foreign investments can in many circumstances help to foster domestic innovation, it is vital to protect U.S. technological leadership, especially when foreign investments involve sectors that are critical to U.S. national security,” the order stated.

While the order does not explicitly mention China, it comes as the Biden administration pursues a wide-ranging strategy to maintain economic and technological dominance, lessening economic reliance on China and increasing competitiveness worldwide. It will likely disproportionately affect Chinese investments amid longstanding accusations China routinely attempts to steal U.S. trade secrets.

CFIUS was commissioned in the Ford administration to review investment proposals that could have a direct impact on national security, but Biden’s order will broaden the scope of potential risks, according to The New York Times. The national security environment has “evolved,” however, requiring a parallel evolution in the CFIUS review process, the order stated.

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Threat actors could take advantage of information or data obtained in a transaction and apply it to hostile ends, according to the statement. The order instructs the committee to review transactions that fall under the areas covered by the order to determine whether it could “reasonably result in future advancements and applications in technology” and undermine national security.

“When viewed in the context of previous transactions, it may become apparent that such investments can facilitate sensitive technology transfer in key industries or otherwise harm national security,” the order stated.

The order addresses a perceived shortfall in the CHIPS Act Congress passed in July that left out certain priorities, according to the NYT.

The CHIPS Act provides subsidies for domestic engineering and manufacturing initiatives for critical technologies, including semiconductors, as the U.S. seeks to reshore critical industries, according to officials.

However, the order does not regulate “outbound investment” of American companies in China, despite known instances where China requires companies to hand over key data or trade secrets as the price for access to the vast Chinese market, the NYT reported.

China represents the largest threat to economic and technological security, FBI director Christopher Wray said in a joint appearance with the UK’s intelligence head.

“The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” he said.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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