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Chamber Urges Senate to Keep National Security a Priority in CFIUS Acquisition Reviews

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce urged lawmakers today to consider and support several crucial Senate amendments that dictate how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) addresses national security concerns when reviewing foreign acquisitions of American companies.

"There is a delicate balance between keeping Americans safe and ensuring the prospects for future foreign direct investment in this country whenever a debate over CFIUS arises," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president for government affairs. "But if CFIUS is to preserve that balance, it must have the flexibility to spend time and resources on those deals that require the most attention to national security concerns while allowing less controversial acquisitions to move forward without impediment."

Under current law, CFIUS filings undergo an initial 30-day review period to determine national security issues with a particular acquisition, and an option for an additional 45-day investigation if the deal poses a national security risk. However, a Senate discussion draft could grant any CFIUS agency the right to extend the 30-day period to 60 days and would require a majority of acquisition filings to proceed to the 45-day investigation, even those with an absence of national security concerns. Such measures would be a misuse of CFIUS resources, according to the Chamber.

The Chamber supports several amendments that would curtail bureaucratic backlog in CFIUS reviews and allow the Committee to focus on those deals deemed most important to national security. Most prominent is an amendment requiring the 45-day review of acquisitions affecting critical infrastructure only in cases with outstanding security issues; and another that would strike any CFIUS agency's ability to extend the 30-day review period without cause.

Additionally, the Chamber backs an amendment that bans a "ranking" of countries for the purposes of considering CFIUS filings, but would require CFIUS officials to confer with the U.S. Secretary of State on matters of national security during review periods.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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