Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released this statement following the release of the Biden Administration’s Executive Order and Advanced Notice for Proposed Rulemaking regarding Outbound Investments.
“I welcome the Biden Administration’s latest actions to restrict outbound investments to China, but more needs to be done. For several years, both through legislative action and convening hearings as previous Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, I have sounded the alarm on how private equity and venture capital funds, which collectively control more than $8.5 trillion in assets, are being used to finance military and technological development in the People’s Republic of China.
“While I am pleased that the Biden Administration’s actions will better protect the United States, I believe the Executive Order and rulemaking on outbound investments must be broadened and strengthened. First, an outbound investment screening framework must account for supply chain resiliency, workers’ interests, and climate risks, all of which have a significant impact on our nation’s economy and security. Second, the Administration should consider expanding the proposal to cover passive forms of investing, such as mutual funds and index investing, that researchers have found are investing one trillion dollars in China-related securities. We must ensure that the savings of Americans are not being used to bolster the PRC’s military or technological prowess. Finally, we should not give a pass to investments that Wall Street private equity and Silicon Valley venture capitalists have already made in China-based companies because they may also pose ongoing threats to U.S. national security, and therefore the rules should appropriately require divestment or revocation of existing investment agreements.
“I look forward to the Administration promptly addressing these concerns and ensuring public and private U.S. investments do not undermine our nation.”
In February 2022, then Chairwoman Waters secured inclusion of a provision in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act to increase transparency of private funds, and require them to disclose their investment practices in China.
On November 15, 2022, then Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing, entitled, “Investing in our Rivals: Examining U.S. Capital Flows to Foreign Rivals and Adversaries Around the World,” which focused on the opacity of private fund investments in countries like the PRC, and foreign companies’ ability to raise billions of dollars in U.S. capital markets through sales of unregistered and unregulated securities.
On October 26, 2021, then Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Taking Stock of China, Inc.: Examining Risks to Investors and the U.S. Posed by Foreign Issuers in U.S. Markets,” that highlighted the risks to U.S. investors by China-based issuers in our listed markets, and the non-transparent and unregulated paths foreign issuers have in raising capital in the U.S.
On September 11, 2019, then Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing entitled, “Examining Private Market Exemptions as a Barrier to IPOs and Retail Investment,” which, among other issues, elevated concerns related to lack of transparency and accountability related to private securities markets, including the capital raising practices of non-U.S. issuers, using exemptions meant for U.S.-based small businesses.