May 22, 2018

Banking Committee Advances CFIUS Legislation

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs advanced the “the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 (FIRRMA).” 

The bill, as amended, was voted out unanimously 25-0 by the Banking Committee. Bill text will be posted on the website upon completion. 

“Today’s action represents a very serious, bipartisan effort to address steps by China and other nations to acquire technologies and know-how key to U.S. national security,” said Chairman Crapo. “I thank all members of the Committee, and Senators Cornyn and Feinstein, for their involvement and efforts to advance this critical legislation.” 

“I thank Chairman Crapo, Senators Cornyn and Feinstein and members of the Committee for their work on moving this legislation forward. Members have come together to address new investment threats from China and other countries that could undermine our national security,” said Ranking Member Brown. “I hope that Congress’ actions to address these threats doesn’t end with the passage of this bill. There is still more work to be done and I look forward to working with members of this Committee and others on this issue.” 

Overview 

The bill, as amended and passed by the Banking Committee, leverages the natural jurisdiction and authorities of the CFIUS process with those of the U.S. and multilateral export control regimes to review certain inbound and outbound transactions that may involve acquisitions of emerging critical or foundational technologies to the detriment of the U.S. national security. Each process will play to its historic strengths, while benefiting from some important enhancements. CFIUS authorities are expanded in four significant ways to capture certain investors and buyers and fundamental changes are made to its review process. In terms of joint ventures and outbound transactions, more generally, the legislation sets up an interagency process led by the President to identify new, emerging critical technologies and know-how, not yet subject to export control. Another interagency process led by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and informed by the intelligence community will classify and determine how, if at all, critical technology or know-how can be transferred by whatever means, including by joint venture or any other transaction. 

Senators Cornyn and Feinstein introduced the bipartisan Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 in November 2017. The Banking Committee held three hearings and met with government and industry stakeholders to inform the discussion draft.

 

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