In efforts to rid China of its economic influence on the U.S. economy, lawmakers are pursuing measures to crack down on foreign purchases of American agricultural real estate
House lawmakers recently advanced legislation to achieve that goal, warning that China’s presence in the American food system presents a national security risk, Politico reports.
The debate over farmland real estate comes amid larger efforts by Congress to slow America’s economic reliance on China in key industries. Indeed, the push for restrictions on farm ownership has come from a wide range of politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“America cannot allow China to control our food supply,” Pence said during a speech Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation. He called on Biden and Congress to “end all farm subsidies for land owned by foreign nationals.”
At the start of 2020, Chinese controlled about 192,000 acres of farmland in the U.S., totaling up to a whopping total of $1.9 billion.
This is in part due to the Communist Party supporting agricultural investments as part of its “One Belt Road” economic development plans.
“The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse, a republican, warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.
Newhouse proposed an amendment to the Agriculture-FDA spending bill that would block any new agricultural purchases by companies controlled by the CCP. The measure is expected to reach the House floor shortly.
“We are new in this process,” Rep. Sanford Bishop, chair of the agriculture appropriations subcommittee, said. “I would suggest that we sit down and we work through it so we can accomplish our objective, but do it in a way that is sensitive to all those who might be somewhat offended by the approach.”