A Washington congressman successfully piloted an amendment to the House’s fiscal agriculture appropriations bill that prohibits the communist government of China from purchasing agricultural assets in the United States.
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) successfully introduced the amendment to the House’s fiscal year 2022 legislation (H.R.4356) in June in order to secure food production and supply chains.
“One of the concerns that we have and China certainly that is at the center of this is foreign ownership of many of our agricultural assets,” Newhouse told NTD News in a recent interview.
“China has over the last ten years, dramatically increased the assets that they’ve been purchasing; the United States, particularly, as I focused on, related to agricultural production.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture report
Over the past ten years, Chinese companies have been purchasing U.S. farmland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that Chinese investors maintained 191,652 acres of land in the U.S. with a monetary value of about $1.86 billion. Nine years earlier, it controlled 13,720 acres, worth $81.42 million.
“We see them doing the same thing in other countries around the globe,” Newhouse said. “increasing the assets that they own in all kinds of areas of manufacturing of resources, of agricultural production lots.”
The bill was passed unanimously after three other rogue regimes, Russia, North Korea, and Iran were added to the list at the behest of Democratic lawmakers. Nonetheless, Newhouse said, the focus of the amendment is China.
“During the rules process, it was changed somewhat by the Democrats to include several other countries,” Newman told NTD. “But the fact remains that communist China is the threat. They’re the ones that are buying up most of the assets of that list of nefarious countries that are not our friends. And that’s where the focus should be.”
Control of Food Supplies
“So because of that trend and because China, frankly, is an adversary, we want to make sure that we control our food supply,” Newhouse explained. “I think it’s a natural, important national security issue.”
“And so this amendment […] that I was able to get attached to an appropriations bill prohibits the government, the Communist Government of China, from purchasing agricultural assets in the United States,” the congressman said.
Newhouse was not the first to voice his concerns over China’s growing influence in the world as a powerful investor in agricultural projects and economic warfare. A 2018 U.S. Department of Agriculture report already sounded the alarm.
“Chinese officials have ambitious strategic plans for agricultural investments to reshape patterns of agricultural trade and increase China’s influence in global markets,” the report read.
Belt and Road Initiative
Beijing’s expansion on the global market and its positioning as an influential proprietor should be seen as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) campaign launched in 2013.
BRI intended to bend land and maritime trade routes towards Beijing to upgrade its geopolitical power, not towards the governments or the people of the countries they are dealing with.
Newhouse claimed he had to take “proactive” action with his amendment before “the problem gets so big that we can’t correct it.”
“We see the trend,” he added. “We see the number of acres and companies that have been purchased by the communist government of China. And we should stop it now.