A US bill that would, on the one hand, subsidize the US semiconductor industry, has won an amendment that would turn the screw on US investment in foreign countries.
The proposed update indicates that semiconductors, large capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, rare earth element biotechnology, AI, quantum computing, hypersonics, fintech and autonomous technologies are all included as sectors in which foreign investment would be restricted, especially in “countries of concern”. or those seen as foreign adversaries, such as China. The amendment would also limit construction investments and joint ventures that would involve sharing intellectual property and monetary rewards.
U.S. entities that have invested in an industry or country covered by the amendment would be required to notify the federal government, and the proposal also includes authorization for the executive branch to form an interagency panel to review and block foreign investment on national security grounds, the Wall Street Journal said of the amendment.
Currently in a bi-chamber conference to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the Bipartisan Innovation Act, the amendment was introduced yesterday by House Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and six other bipartisan supporters. Among the broader measures the act would take would be to fund the development of the US semiconductor industry.
The new proposal is a compromise between the pairing of outbound investment mechanisms introduced in the Senate version of the bill by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in 2021. Previous amendments throw a wide net, and this new version is designed to bring the United States into line with outbound investment mechanisms used in allied countries, several members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a letter.
“The refined proposal released today has bipartisan and bicameral support and addresses industry concerns, including scope of potential activities, industries covered and avoidance of duplicate authorities,” the representatives said.
The Senate version of the bipartisan Innovation Act was passed in late March and has been in conference ever since. With Congress poised to pause for Independence Day and then not return to session long before the August recess, time is running out to pass the bill.
In a speech last month, President Biden said tech leaders have said they are ready to increase chipmaking capacity in the United States, underscoring the bipartisan nature of the bill and the general consensus of Congress to have it signed as soon as possible.
“So all Republican and Democratic members of Congress — most of us agree on that. Pass this fucking bill and send it to me,” Biden said. ®