China’s effort to unseat America as the world’s economic superpower has a new tactic: It has bought up more than 200,000 acres of U.S. farmland. And while there is bipartisan support for legislation to slow down Beijing’s acquisitions, Democrats have added a new wrinkle.
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), who is leading the legislative charge, says congressional Democrats have removed all references to the communist government of China in an amendment to an agricultural spending bill that originally prevented the Chinese Communist Party’s purchase of American farmland.
“[O]ver the last decade, we’ve seen a huge increase in the acquisition of these kinds of assets — farming in particular — by the People’s Republic of China,” he said. “And that, to me, is just a direction that, while we can, we should do all we can to stop.” With China purchasing the United States’ agricultural assets and becoming more ingrained in the U.S. economy, America might eventually “become dependent on Communist China for our agricultural production,” Newhouse warned. “We don’t want that to happen. We want to stop that in its tracks.”
Only six states have agricultural restrictions on China, Newhouse said, “so this is something that I think is desperately needed in our country to prevent China, Communist China, from taking over our agricultural industry.”
Newhouse added that the House Committee on Appropriations adopted the amendment through a unanimous voice vote, which is rare for two reasons: being unanimous and passing an amendment from the minority party.
“I think that that tells us that there’s concern across the board [over] the direction that people see China taking,” he said, adding that neither political party wants to see China taking over America’s critical assets, like it has with other countries.
Democrats want to include North Korea, Iran, and Russia in addition to China in the amendment, Newhouse said. But North Korea has no money to buy farmland in the U.S., and the other countries haven’t purchased any land in recent years, unlike China.
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“China’s got almost 200,000 acres right now in the United States,” he explained. “Russia has, I think, 800.” Newhouse believes Iran has “just around 2,000, […]
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