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Biden Orders Restrictions on Outbound Investment in Chinese Tech

President Biden delivered remarks reflecting on the Inflation Reduction Act’s success at Arcosa Wind Towers, Inc. in Belen. N.M. Screenshot from The White House YouTube account

The president’s executive order would regulate American investment in Chinese companies producing advanced technologies.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to regulate American investments in Chinese companies that manufacture critical technologies that could pose a national security threat.

The order tasks the Treasury Department with issuing regulations that require Americans to notify the agency of transactions involving three categories of national security technologies: semiconductors and microelectronics; quantum information technologies; and artificial intelligence.

“For too long, American money has helped fuel the Chinese military’s rise,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “Today the United States is taking a strategic first step to ensure American investment does not go to fund Chinese military advancement in developing and deploying cutting-edge capabilities that destabilize the region and threaten our national security.”

The Treasury is now seeking public comment on the outbound investment regulation program.

Biden’s order restricting outbound investment in advanced technology took place on the one-year anniversary of the CHIPS and Science Act — a $53 billion investment in the U.S. semiconductor industry that has stimulated more than $166 billion in private investment in semiconductor and electronics manufacturing since its signing. The law came at a critical time as America’s share of semiconductor production has dwindled to 10% of the world’s supply though the technology was invented in the United States.

“I asked myself, ‘Why do I have to put up with that?’ We’re sending jobs abroad and importing products at home. I just knew we could change that. We have the best workers in the world,” Biden said at a speech Wednesday at Arcosa Wind Towers, Inc. in Belen, N.M. that spotlighted his administration’s progress in growing America’s clean energy and manufacturing sectors.

The Commerce Department, which oversees the CHIPS Act Fund, has seen more than 460 statements of interest from companies hoping to manufacture in the U.S. since the department first released notice of funding opportunities in February.  

The Biden administration’s other signature law, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was also signed roughly a year ago on Aug. 16, 2022, and has seen a similarly enthusiastic private investment response.

Arcosa, an infrastructure-related product provider, announced in March that it had received approximately $750 million in wind tower orders. The company credits the orders to passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and is investing $55 to $60 million to expand its current wind energy projects in the Southwest, as well as opening a new manufacturing facility in Belen, N.M., which will create 250 new jobs.

“We decided that we were going to invest in America, and this company is a great example. They’re now poised to be the leader in the wind industry,” Biden said during his speech Wednesday. “But, a few years ago, they were laying off workers because we weren’t investing in them, so we passed significant climate legislation. Not only does it move us away from fossil fuels to cleaner technologies like wind, but it means that we’re going to make things and new technology in America. And there’s no reason why we can’t do it.”

Nearly one year after the IRA was signed, Arcosa is a clear success story for Biden’s landmark law. But it’s a story that’s reflected across the country. Since Biden took office, companies have invested more than $103 billion in clean energy manufacturing in the U.S.

However, that momentum is endangered by importers who would undermine the Biden administration’s aim to funnel taxpayer dollars spent on federal projects back into American communities.

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said:

“As we move ahead with CHIPS Act and clean energy manufacturing implementation, Congress and the administration must commit to ensuring that ‘Made in America’ at every level of the supply chain is the overarching goal. The CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act must be the first step, not the last word.”

An overwhelming majority of American voters (70%) want the federal government to do even more to bring manufacturing back to the United States, according to polling conducted by Morning Consult for the Alliance for American Manufacturing in June. Even more voters (78%) support Buy America policies that require the federal government to buy American-made with its own purchases.

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