AFL-CIO backs CFIUS reform bill, warns against weakening it

April 24, 2018

The AFL-CIO has thrown its weight behind the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act and advised against changes to it.

[Jack Caporal | April 24, 2018 | Inside US Trade]

“The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) is a reasoned approach that balances the desire to maintain an open investment climate and our security interests,” AFL-CIO director of government affairs William Samuel wrote in an April 23 letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and ranking member Maxine Waters (D-CA). “Efforts to diminish the scope of the legislation would adversely impact both U.S. production and employment and should be rejected.”

The letter comes as discussions continue on potential changes to the bill to make it more palatable to some lawmakers and businesses, sources told Inside U.S. Trade. Talks on how to move the bill are also ongoing, with the preferred option to attach it to a piece of legislation considered to be “must-pass,” such as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Lawmakers, including Hensarling and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID), have moved on the bill slower than its proponents had hoped, holding hearings on FIRRMA but stopping short of pushing it through the legislative process. Advocates of the bill see it as necessary to prevent the U.S. from losing its technological edge over China, but opponents worry that it would overly restrict foreign investment, open up outbound investment from the U.S. to review, stretch the resources of CFIUS and undermine the export control regime.

“FIRRMA represents a bipartisan, bicameral effort to provide CFIUS with increased support and flexibility, enabling it to effectively respond to efforts by China and other nations to buy the technological and military advantages of the United States,” Samuel wrote, though he knocked the bill for not including a net economic benefit test.

Read more at Inside US Trade

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