In recent weeks, numerous national security concerns have been raised regarding Chinese corporations and their increasing ownership of American businesses and trading ports. This alarm comes in the wake of China’s largest shipping company, Cosco Shipping Holdings Co., taking control of a major US trade terminal in Long Beach, California. The Long Beach acquisition is part of Cosco’s six-billion-dollar buyout of rival Asian shipping giant, the Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas International Ltd.
Whereas Cosco’s ownership of the California port is a smart move for the Chinese economy, American trade insiders have expressed skepticism over the acquisition’s benefits for the United States, worried it may jeopardize national security.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) – a federal panel tasked with reviewing foreign purchases of American businesses by foreign entities – recently investigated Cosco’s seizure of Orient Overseas, expressing strong national security concerns and uncertainty about the Chinese corporation’s intentions.
This review followed President Trump’s refusal to allow Singaporean-owned tech company Broadcom to purchase the California-based telecommunications giant Qualcomm – the president’s decision largely informed by CFIUS concerns that the American company would be undermined, easily allowing China to gain an advantage over the United States in microchip technology.
Many Americans have expressed opposition to the Cosco purchase and have encouraged CFIUS to block China’s takeover of the major California port. Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, discussed the topic in May, saying in a statement:
“Under no circumstances should CFIUS permit China to take over management or effective control over the port of Long Beach, a critical channel for foreign commerce, but one that must remain under US control. Long Beach serves as the gateway to and from Asia. In order to ensure that our national and economic security needs are met, neither the Chinese government nor its state-run companies should be controlling such critical infrastructure.”
He added, “CFIUS needs to just say no to the deal.”
The Cosco acquisition also comes during a time of increased tension between China and the United States, with both country’s leaders threatening to levy new tariffs and sanctions, and public officials raising concerns of an all-out trade war between the two nations.
California’s trading ports have long been a point of contention for international relations.
In the mid-1990s during Bill Clinton’s campaign for his second presidential term, the Clinton administration worked towards ensuring a Chinese shipping company with communist ties received a good deal on another Long Beach shipping terminal.
The bad China deals didn’t stop with Clinton, either. Under the Obama administration, US-China relations shifted, with Obama positioning the United States as a partner to China, rather than a competitor. As the US became less competitive with China in the name of “international cooperation”, the Obama administration gradually began to allow more and more Chinese conglomerates to buy out American properties and businesses. The Democrat-backed policies that gave China trade advantages are, in part, responsible for the development of the current state of affairs in which China has a disproportionately large influence on American commerce.
President Trump has taken steps to put America first again, threatening to slap a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of China’s tech exports, however the Cosco purchase is still set to be finalized this month.
Within the past several years, China has rapidly advanced its strategy to weaken the American dollar, destabilize our economy, and replace the United States as the dominant economic world power. The increasing Chinese ownership of American industry is actively weakening our country while diminishing our national security and self-reliance.
President Trump has taken a strong stance on China, addressing the trade deficit and the country’s theft of American intellectual property. If Americans wish to curb Chinese influence on American commerce and our economic strength, we must follow President Trump’s lead.
We know the country aims to subvert our world power and economic dominance. We must not let them.