The U.S. government has begun to consider how to ramp up the role of an interagency committee that evaluates acquisitions of U.S. companies by firms from countries that pose national security threats, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“We’re examining [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.] to look at the long-term health and security of the U.S. economy, given China’s predatory practices” when it comes to sensitive technology platforms, an official with the Trump administration told Reuters.
The Treasury Department oversees CFIUS that includes nine members from federal agencies such as the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice.
The move stems from concerns over China’s investments in U.S.-made machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies that could be potentially used by the East Asian country to build up its military capabilities.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has started to draft a bill that would increase CFIUS’ authority to bar some foreign technology investments and require the committee to strengthen reviews of potential acquirers from countries that are seen as threats to U.S. national security.
“Artificial intelligence is one of many leading-edge technologies that China seeks and that has potential military applications,” a Cornyn aide said.
“These technologies are so new that our export control system has not yet figured out how to cover them, which is part of the reason they are slipping through the gaps in the existing safeguards.”