Foreign Investment

ILE - In this July 22, 2018 file photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during a news conference at the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Treasury Department has issued new rules on foreign investments into American companies that will give the government more power to block foreign transactions on national security grounds. The rules represent the latest escalation in an intensifying economic conflict between the United States and China. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department issued new rules Wednesday on foreign investments into American companies that will give the government more power to block foreign transactions on national security grounds.

The rules, which represent the latest escalation in an intensifying economic conflict between the United States and China, will implement a program for tougher reviews of foreign acquisitions that Congress approved this summer.

The regulations will require foreign investors to alert a Treasury-led interagency committee to all deals that would give the foreign investors access to critical technology covering 27 industries, including semiconductors, telecommunications and defense.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new interim rules will “address specific risks to U.S. critical technology” while also giving officials critical information they can use in developing the final rules.

The law Congress passed in August did not single out China, but it was clear lawmakers and the Trump administration had Beijing in mind. The administration has accused China of using predatory tactics to steal American technology.

The administration has imposed penalty tariffs on about $250 billion of Chinese imports, triggering retaliation by China, as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies has widened.

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