Washington, 28 September (Argus) — President Barack Obama today issued an executive order prohibiting Chinese companies from purchasing four wind farms in Oregon because the projects are located near a military base.
Obama's order comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign in which he and his rival, Republican Mitt Romney, are talking tough on trade with China.
Obama's order directs the Ralls Corp., a Delaware-based subsidiary of the Chinese Sany Group, to sell its interest in the 10MW Lower Ridge, 10MW High Plateau, 10MW Mule Hollow and 10MW Pine City wind farms within 90 days and remove any equipment and structures from the project sites within 14 days.
The four projects are within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at the Boardman Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility in northwest Oregon.
Ralls will not be allowed to sell or transfer ownership of the projects to another third party until it removes all physical objects from the project sites and the Department of Defense has verified that the process complies with national security guidelines.
The order was made under the Defense Production Act, which authorizes the president to prohibit acquisitions of US businesses by foreign entities “where he finds that there is credible evidence that the foreign interest exercising control might take action that threatens to impair national security.”
The Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment said the action “demonstrates “a commitment to protecting national security while maintaining the United States' longstanding policy on open investment.” Obama's decision is “specific to this transaction and is not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China,” the Treasury added.
In assessing the transaction's impact on national security, the Treasury Department conducted a 30-day first-stage review followed by a 45-day second-stage investigation. The review process considered all relevant national security factors and included “a thorough analysis” of the threat posed by this transaction from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The blockage of Ralls' purchase could further strain trade relations between the US and China. The US has already imposed import tariffs on Chinese solar components and a similar investigation is being conducted for Chinese wind turbine towers.
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