Obama blocks Chinese wind farm in Oregon
On Friday, President Obama halted plans by a Chinese company to buy four wind farms in Oregon, citing national security concerns over the deal.
This latest attempt to get tough with China comes within a few weeks after the U.S. filed a trade dispute against Chinese auto and auto parts subsidies with the World Trade Organization, and it was just last May that the administration announced tariffs of more than 31 percent on Chinese-made solar panels.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has repeatedly attacked Obama for not standing up to China and their unfair trade practices.
The Romney campaign launched an ad earlier this week once again criticizing the president for allowing China to steal American jobs and intellectual property, accusing Obama of doing little to stop it.
The company, Ralls Corporation, is owned by executives from the China-based construction machinery firm Sany Group. Ralls Corp. was investing in wind farm projects that were all in the vicinity of restricted air space of a military facility in Oregon, reports Reuters.
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Ralls Corporation … and the Sany Group … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” wrote the president in his signed order.
The BBC reports that the military uses the base in Oregon to test unmanned drones and equipment for electronic warfare, with aircraft flying as low as 200 feet and as fast as 300 miles per hour.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama followed the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States in blocking the deal.
The committee is chaired by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and has top officials from various departments, including the Pentagon and State Department. Foreign investment in American companies are reviewable by this committee.
This is the first time a president has formally blocked a deal on national security grounds since 1990 during the Bush administration. That year President George H.W. Bush stopped a Chinese aero-technology firm from buying a U.S. manufacturer, also on national security concerns.
“The project poses no national security threat whatsoever, and the President’s order offers no explanation otherwise,” said Tim Xia, counsel for Ralls Corporation.
“The President’s order is without justification, as scores of other wind turbines already operate in the area where Ralls’s project is located,” he continued.
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