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Chinese firms advised to stay in US as regulation tightens

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-09-18 07:36

"That is something that's going to be in place, and those regulators are going to act no matter who's in the White House," said Stronberg.

In contrast, executive orders, which have the force of law, can be altered at any time either by the president that issued them or by a different president.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist and adviser to the United Nations, said privacy concerns were cited when the US administration targeted Chinese companies like TikTok and WeChat, but US companies aren't being regulated over the same concerns.

While acknowledging the role of CFIUS as "guardrails on technologies that are new and still evolving at unprecedented speed", Sachs said it's the US companies that have more data on citizens of other countries than any other companies in the world.

Ask more questions

Part of the issue, he said, especially for Chinese companies in the US, is that they have had to deal with a strengthened CFIUS, which focuses on three areas: data, critical technologies and critical infrastructure.

It's often challenging for Chinese companies to understand the role of CFIUS and define "critical technologies", said Stronberg, but it's important to know that the data is affecting the way that US regulators are looking at Chinese and other foreign investment, which might not have been the case four or five years ago.

His advice for Chinese companies as they invest in the US is to not just ask all the usual questions about what the value of a potential partnership or investment might be, but also ask what data they are going to potentially acquire in the deal and think through how a regulator is going to look at it.

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