US officials played down the role of national security reviews at an investment forum held in Beijing Wednesday, even though several Chinese companies have been barred from investing in the US due to national security concerns.
Investment projects in the US by machinery maker Sany Group and telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE were blocked for reasons of national security earlier this year, but the US officials said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should not be seen as a barrier to investment.
The CFIUS reviews are limited to cases related to national security, so they only affect a small fraction of investment from China, said Robert D. Hormats, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.
"For thousands of foreign investment cases between 2009 and 2011, the CFIUS only initiated investigations on 269 cases. Among the 269 cases, only 20 involved Chinese companies," said US Ambassador to China Gary Locke. He estimated that China's direct investment in the US is expected to reach $8 billion in 2012.
Chinese companies are interested in acquiring US technology companies, which always draws attention from US regulators, Yu Ping, vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said at the forum.
"We hope the US can give guidance, especially to State-owned enterprises, on what fields they can invest in, and increase the transparency of national security reviews," Yu said.
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