WASHINGTON Dec 19 Chinese companies faced the
most scrutiny over their U.S. acquisitions last year, eclipsing
British firms for the first time, according to a report issued
Chinese corporations filed 23 notices with U.S. regulators
in 2012, up from 10 in 2011 and nearly quadruple the number in
2010, according to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the
United States, or CFIUS.
This compared with 17 notices from companies from the United
Kingdom last year, the report said.
CFIUS, an interagency group chaired by the Treasury
Secretary, reviews transactions that would bring U.S. businesses
under foreign ownership for national security concerns. Most of
its reviews stay secret unless companies choose to disclose
them, but once a year the group must file a report to Congress
about general trends.
Speaking about the latest report, a senior Treasury official
said the higher number of Chinese deals under review was
consistent with growing Chinese investment in the United States.
There was $11.5 billion worth of deals by Chinese companies
in the United States in 2012, which was a significantly higher
figure than in any year other than 2007, according to Thomson
U.S. politicians are eager to attract Chinese investment as
a source of new jobs and economic growth. And Chinese companies
have also become more comfortable with U.S. deals, despite the
2005 rejection of China National Offshore Oil Corp's
$18.5 billion attempt to buy U.S. energy company Unocal. CNOOC's
bid was thwarted by fierce political opposition because of
national security concerns.
CFIUS also recommended that U.S. President Barack Obama
block a Chinese firm's acquisition of wind farms close to a U.S.
naval training site.
But CFIUS cleared Chinese plans this year to buy Smithfield
Foods, the world's largest pork producer, despite concerns among
some U.S. lawmakers about food safety.
In its report, CFIUS also said it no longer sees that some
foreign governments have a coordinated strategy to acquire
valuable U.S. technology by buying U.S. firms, as it saw for