Beginning this month, the U.S. government can now block foreigners from taking possession of real estate anywhere in the country when it concludes the deal may threaten U.S. national security. In the past, only foreign investment in U.S. businesses required the parties to consider the risk that the government would object on national security grounds. Now parties entering into a broad array of real estate deals with foreigners affecting land in particular parts of the country will also have to consider these risks, even if they do not involve any investment in a U.S. business.
Despite the rapid rise in Chinese investment in the U.S. in recent years, there has been some early speculation that the Trump Administration would not allow the level of Chinese investment to continue at the same rate.
Proposals to limit Chinese investment continue to be floated in Congress. Recent developments suggest however that these concerns are overblown. Prospects for Chinese investment remain bright. At the same time, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) retains considerable discretionary authority to block foreign direct investments from China and elsewhere, or to dictate changes to the terms of the deal. Threats to U.S. national security, including the safety of our country’s infrastructure, remain key criteria for CFIUS in its scrutiny of inbound transactions.
China has been quite successful in encouraging foreign investments since the Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law was promulgated in the beginning of the country’s economic reform in 1979.
With the passage of time, the Chinese government has recognized the limitations of the old case-by-case approval regime which is typically time-consuming and burdensome for foreign investors. The government has sought to test various reform measures as seen through the establishment of several Free Trade Zones and new rules that only applied within the boundaries of these Free Trade Zones.
In our last post we warned U.S. investors abroad about the BE-10 Benchmark Survey regarding such foreign investments, due May 29, 2015 (and for certain large filers, due June 30, 2015). The Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (“BEA”) recently announced that it is extending the submission deadline for all first time filers to June 30, 2015. This development applies to filers with foreign subsidiaries and other affiliates who haven’t filed any BEA survey before for U.S. direct investment abroad. See this link for additional details.
Foster Garvey’s International practice group comprises a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. A number of attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.