Doubling down on the increasingly rocky relationship between the United States and China, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced the Transparency in Chinese Government Investment Act last week, which would require any publicly traded companies to reveal connections with China’s governing party.
“This legislation would provide unprecedented transparency for American investors with respect to CCP investments in publicly traded companies,” Barr said. “CCP investment in American companies frequently leads to CCP manipulation of American companies and investors — whether it be the forced transfer of technology or the outright theft of American intellectual property. These are just two examples of many tactics used by the CCP that hijack American innovation, devalue American capital markets, and, most importantly, threaten the investments of millions of American citizens.”
Accordingly, Barr’s bill would require companies to reveal any financial support from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), be they subsidies, grants, loans, tax breaks, tax incentives, or other actions deemed to be preferential treatment for the Chinese government’s purposes. For Barr, it’s a matter of securing integrity in U.S. financial markets, but it also represents a broad push-back against China itself, as companies are specifically directed to note any affiliation with Chinese strategic initiatives such as Made in China 2025.
Chinese-American relations have deteriorated in recent years, largely due to a trade war begun under the Trump Administration. The White House has accused China of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft. The two nations have since responded to one another with a series of escalating tariffs, though a preliminary trade deal was reached in January. Since then, however, relations have further soured with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of a new security law in Hong Kong, and the threat of outright bans against Chinese companies like TikTok.
Still, as of September last year, 172 Chinese firms were listed on major U.S. exchanges, representing more than $1 trillion.