Media Quote Kevin Wolf on CFIUS Expansion and Chinese Investment

Akin Gump international trade partner Kevin Wolf has been quoted by various media outlets on the federal interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and its changing role.

In The Deal’s “To Protect U.S. Tech Leadership, Washington Must Look Beyond CFIUS,” which discusses proposals by the Trump administration to expand CFIUS’s authority, Wolf is quoted from his September 14 testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, saying that expansion of the committee’s powers should be limited to acquisitions that:

  • are located adjacent to sensitive military facilities
  • create espionage risks
  • allow foreign buyers to incorporate Defense Department (DOD) technology investments into their own arsenals
  • divulge personal identifying information
  • cause security and supply issues for the DOD and other U.S. government agencies
  • create potential exposures of U.S. infrastructure.

Wolf, who also served as Assistant Secretary for Export Administration at the Department of Commerce, said, “The principal focus is to, aggressively and with will, think creatively about how to describe, either in a unilateral fashion or a multilateral fashion, the types of technologies that warrant control to China or other countries for these national security reasons.”

He added, “One shouldn't have to wait for a transaction to occur. If there is a way in which some sort of foundational technology, even if broadly described, is going to be put to an end use or an end user of concern, then I would suggest using the authorities that already exist in the very flexible export control regulations to identify those.”

In Law360’s “5 Takeaways From CFIUS' Latest Annual Report,” Law360 quoted Wolf on CFIUS and Chinese investment as saying that there is some concern about the committee’s ability to addressed increased investment by Chinese entities. Of the Senate Banking Committee hearing on CFIUS, he said, “The tenor of the hearing from last Thursday, from Democrats and Republicans, was that there was a significant amount of increased activity involving activity in sensitive areas.” Wolf added that the activity is leading to closer examination of CFIUS’s capacity to monitor activity targeting sensitive areas, particularly from countries such as China.