Tester requires ban on China shopping for U.S. farmland

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is doubling down on his proposal to restrict foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, tying his resolution to the alleged Chinese language spy balloon that handed over his state final week. 

“Individuals ought to have the ability to promote who they need to promote to, however not on this explicit case, as a result of China needs to do dangerous issues to us,” Tester mentioned on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. 

Testor instructed that the ban would lengthen to Chinese language non-public corporations, saying “they’re all related with the Communist Chinese language authorities anyway.”

On Jan. 31, Tester and Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced a bill that would come with the Secretary of Agriculture on the Committee on International Funding in america (CFIUS), which examines the nationwide safety implications of potential international investments within the U.S.

“This can be a ban in opposition to China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, people who don’t need to see us exist anymore as a nation,” Testor mentioned on Sunday. “I don’t suppose they need to have any alternative to attempt to dictate our meals provide.”

Tester has criticized the U.S. response to an alleged Chinese language espionage balloon, which was first seen over Montana. In a Senate listening to last week, Tester requested protection officers why “this child wasn’t taken out lengthy earlier than.” The U.S. finally shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina, per week after it first entered U.S. airspace. 

Chinese language officers initially apologized for the balloon, claiming it was a “civililan airship” blown off target. But Beijing’s tone has hardened because the balloon was shot down, calling the U.S. navy operation an “overreaction.”

The U.S. has shot down three extra “flying objects” since then, most lately on Sunday night as an “unidentified object” handed over Lake Huron. Officers haven’t shared particulars on the focused objects. (Even China is now escalating its operations in opposition to unidentified flying objects, with native media suggesting the nation would possibly transfer in opposition to one object sighted across the metropolis of Qingdao.)

Does China personal U.S. farmland?

International, and explicit Chinese language, involvement in U.S. agriculture is the most recent flashpoint in relations between the 2 powers. Chinese language entities personal lower than 1% of privately-held U.S. farmland as of the tip of 2020, in response to the Wall Street Journal.

But the full holdings by Chinese language entities elevated by four-and-a-half occasions between 2010 and 2020. And Chinese language investments in agribusiness are rising: in 2013, the Hong Kong-based WH Group bought Smithfield, the world’s largest producer of pork. 

Final Tuesday, the North Dakotan city of Grand Forks voted down a proposal by Chinese language agribusiness firm Fufeng Group to construct a $700 million corn mill. The unanimous vote by town council ends a months-long tussle over the proposed manufacturing facility, which might have been located near a U.S. Air Pressure base. 

Native officers, like Grand Forks mayor Brandon Bochenski, originally hailed the deal when it was agreed in November 2021. But residents and U.S. politicians mentioned they have been nervous the mill may grow to be a base for covert espionage in opposition to U.S. navy operations.

CFIUS denied a request to look at the deal last December, citing a scarcity of jurisdiction. The U.S. Air Pressure stepped in as an alternative, calling the potential mill “a significant threat to nationwide safety” in a letter to Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). Metropolis officers like Bochenski cited the letter of their resolution to halt the undertaking.

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