Chinese company’s plans for ND land cause congressional concern
Plans by a Chinese company to purchase land for a corn milling plant near an Air Force base in Grand Forks, N.D., is causing concern in Congress.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the ranking member on Intelligence, have all said they oppose the purchase, CNBC reported.
On July 1, Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said they are introducing the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, which will ensure the Agriculture Department “is fully involved in reviewing our foreign adversaries’ acquisition of American companies that may affect our agriculture sector,” they said in a news release.
“Washington must realize that agriculture security in national security, and we have a duty to protect our food supply and those who produce it. I’m proud to work with Rep. Stefanik to draw attention to this critical threat and seek to defend American agriculture interests,” Crawford said.
Crawford and Stefanik said the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act would:
▪ Blacklist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing U.S. agriculture companies,
▪ Include agriculture and biotechnology related to agriculture as critical infrastructure,
▪ Add the secretary of agriculture as a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security, and
▪ Require reporting from the secretary of agriculture on the risk of foreign purchases of agriculture companies to the American agriculture sector.
DTN/Progressive Farmer reported July 1 that Crawford and Stefanik pointed to concerns raised by a report released in May by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report looks specifically at China’s interest in U.S. agriculture, citing China’s lack of arable land, environmental pollution and reliance on imports.
DTN also noted that after the commission report came out, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., introduced a bill that would prohibit the purchase of public or private agricultural land by Chinese foreign nationals. It would also prevent those companies or groups from participating in most USDA farm programs other than those tied to food safety.
Newhouse first raised concerns last year and added language to USDA’s funding bill that would make it illegal for the Chinese state-owned entities to own agricultural land or participate in USDA programs.
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