The political tensions between China and the United States have made Chinese companies, increasingly the focus of attention of the U.S. authorities. Chinese companies are facing increasingly stringent scrutiny under different U.S. regulatory regimes, most notably by The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of national security. Chinese companies may suffer from the challenges of the US authorities and the long-term impact of CFIUS on foreign investments.
CFIUS participates in various processes such as the review, investigation, negotiation and presidential decision-making process. The presidential executive order is based on the final investigation results of the CFIUS. The scope of CFIUS review covers the military, critical technologies, critical infrastructure, sensitive data about citizens and transactions directly and indirectly related to foreign governments. These include: Firstly, real estate transactions that are very close to a military facility, or a U.S. government facility, or a national security-sensitive asset; Secondly, any non-controlling investments in critical technologies, critical infrastructure or U.S. companies that collect sensitive data about U.S. citizens; Thirdly, any change in the rights of foreign investors; Fourthly, transactions in which foreign governments directly or indirectly have significant interests; Fifthly, any transaction or arrangement designed to evade CFIUS.
In 2018, members of Congress and the Trump administration enacted the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which went into effect on November 11, 2018. The measure marks the most comprehensive overhaul of the foreign investment review process since FINSA was amended in 2007. On February 13, 2020, the U.S. Ministry of Finance issued the final regulations, which implemented a key part of FIRRMA and set out detailed implementation rules for the review of certain real estate investments and non-controlling investments. The revision of the CFIUS has expanded the jurisdiction and review power of CFIUS, which reflects the results of the “America First” ruling idea adopted by the Trump administration. The Trump administration has implemented market liberalism internally and protectionism externally. Nationalism and the positioning of China as a "strategic competitor" will have a negative influence on Chinese companies investing in the United States under this approach.