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American Shipper

Senators file bill to review foreign investments

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last Wednesday introduced the United States Foreign Investment Review Act of 2017 (S.1983), designed to make sure that foreign investments do not come at the expense of the U.S. economy.

   Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last Wednesday introduced new legislation to review foreign investment practices on the part of overseas businesses operating in the United States.
   According to the senators, the United States Foreign Investment Review Act of 2017 (S.1983) will ensure that foreign investments in the U.S. will not harm domestic jobs or the economy.
   “Recent patterns of foreign investment in the U.S. have raised concerns that overseas competitors, including state-owned enterprises, are pursuing investments to make strategic gains in the U.S. market or to benefit their own domestic industries,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “No current mechanism allows the U.S. government to evaluate foreign investment for its long-term economic benefit to the U.S.”
   The legislation would require a review of any foreign investment that results in foreign control of any U.S. entity worth more than $1 billion, and a review of any transaction by a state-owned enterprise that would result in control of a U.S. entity worth over $50 million.
   It would also create a process to “efficiently” review investments. Within 15 days, the Secretary of Commerce would have to approve or deny the transaction, or inform the parties to the transaction that more time is needed to complete the review. If the Secretary of Commerce calls for an extended review of the investment, a decision would be due within 45 days of receiving written notification. The Secretary of Commerce also would have the option to request 15 additional days for the extended review, but all transactions would be reviewed and acted on within 60 days of receiving written notification.
   The legislation would also give the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee or House Ways and Means Committee permission to request that the Secretary of Commerce review investments of any value.
   In addition, under the legislation, the Secretary of Commerce would have to make all decisions public and submit an annual report to Congress on the results of reviewed transactions. The legislation also calls for a 10-day public comment period for each investment subject to an extended review.