Tatman Savio, Christian Davis Quoted by Asian Lawyer on China, CFIUS and Trump

The Asian Lawyer, in its article “Strains in U.S.-China Relations Expected to Hurt Deal Volume,” quoted Akin Gump international trade partner Tatman Savio and counsel Christian Davis on the possible impact that recent U.S. government decisions to block Chinese investment in the U.S. on national security grounds, as well as the impending assumption of office by Donald Trump could have on trade.

The Hong Kong-based Savio said the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which reviews national security aspects of proposed acquisitions by non-U.S. buyers, is not bound to one definition of “national security.” She also noted that its criteria for what constitutes a risk in that respect evolves, adding “It's also not uncommon to see the CFIUS process become politicized, sometimes on issues that are seemingly unrelated to national security, such as loss of jobs or ownership of marquee American brands.”

Savio noted that CFIUS appears to consider Chinese investors to present a different sort of national security risk, in part because of the ties that investing parties have ties to the Chinese government.

Separately, in the case of Chinese government blocking of foreign investment in certain sectors of its economy, Davis said that CFIUS does not allow reciprocal blocking of transactions in the regulatory process. However, he noted that President Trump could advocate expanding CFIUS’ scope through legislation or changing the process via an executive order.