On 20 July 2020, US spoke on committee on foreign investment (CFIUS).
- Keynote remarks by US Treasury assistant secretary for investment security, Thomas Feddo, at the American conference institute's sixth national conference on CFIUS.
- CFIUS is an interagency committee reviews foreign investment transactions in US and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons from national security perspective.
- Feddo position created by foreign investment risk review modernization act, FIRRMA.
- Discussed upcoming rulemaking, enforcement, and CFIUS future activities.
- US Treasury issued a proposed rule on 21 May 2020, that would modify the criteria for mandatory declarations related to US business critical technologies.
- Proposal would require filing transaction with CFIUS if foreign acquirer needs export control authorization to transfer US business’s products/technology to home country.
- The public comment period for the proposed rule ended 22 June 2020, and Treasury is considering the detailed comments received and working diligently to finalize the rule.
- With help from interagency partners, Treasury is monitoring investment activity and contacting parties if it identifies unreported transaction with national security issue.
- Have received referrals about potential non-notified transactions from public.
- Created dedicated email account posted on CFIUS' website to receive leads and tips.
- Treasury is ensuring mitigation agreements are effective, and closing out those that have outlived their usefulness or applicability at the rate of roughly ten each year.
- Also ensure that CFIUS mitigation agreements are monitorable, and continue to engage with mitigated entities remotely, including using virtual site visits these days.
- Recently issued an unprecedented civil monetary penalty of $1mn for repeat breaches of 2016 CFIUS mitigation agreement, including not having requisite security policies.
- Then assessed another civil monetary penalty of $750k for violations of 2018 CFIUS interim order, including failure to restrict/adequately monitor access to protected data.
Future Activities, Technology
- Will continue adding resources and enhancing internal and external processes.
- Continue engaging with industry and stakeholders; identify areas to improve operational efficiency; and, nimbly adapt to new environments and challenges.
- Plans to vigorously enforce mandatory filings and conduct mitigation oversight.
- Actively engage with allies, developing methods/processes to benchmark, collaborate.
- Evaluate the regulations and CFIUS processes and practices, going forward.
- In next 5-10 years, rapidly developing technologies, like machine learning, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, robotics, biotech dramatically affect US security.
- Some experts believe these technologies will transform current military concepts and capabilities and trigger major changes in the character and conduct of war.
- Unlike before, when many advanced military technologies were developed by US government, vast majority now happens in private sector for commercial applications.
- While private and commercial development of technologies is essential, it also provides a means for our strategic competitors to potentially gain access to these technologies.
- This access risks is eroding the technological superiority of US and its allies.
- For example, in 2017 Beijing released plan to become the global leader in AI by 2030.