Lawmakers from both parties want to block expanding Chinese presence in US agriculture

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , ,

by Karen Faulkner, Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Concerned that ’s expanding presence in America’s agricultural industry poses a national risk, a committee of congressional lawmakers from both parties have adopted an amendment to the Agriculture-FDA spending bill (H.R. 4356 (117)) that would block new US agricultural purchases by companies that are wholly or partly controlled by Beijing, and prohibit Chinese-owned farms from accessing federal funds, Politico reports.

The last decade has seen a significant expansion of China’s influence in America’s food system, as Chinese-owned companies have been buying up US farmland and major agribusinesses like Smithfield Foods, Politico reports.

The Department of Agriculture reported in 2020 that Chinese companies owned 192,000 agricultural acres of farmland and forests, worth $1.9 billion, Politico said. In 2018 China’s agricultural investments in other countries had increased by 10 times since 2009, the department reported.

Addressing concerns that restrictive measures on China may perpetuate the rising anti-Asian hate in the US, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), chair of the agriculture appropriations subcommittee said in a statement: “We are new in this process. 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.”

The proposed amendment to H.R. 4356 (117) is expected to reach the House floor by the end of the month as part of a wider appropriations package, Politico said.

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