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  • Tuesday, October 2, 2012


    White House Orders Chinese Firm to Divest From Wind Farm

    Damian Paletta, Eric Morath and Carol E. Lee, October 1, 2012 (NASDAQ)

    “President Barack Obama… took the unusual step of blocking foreign investment in a U.S. company, invoking national security concerns to prevent a firm owned by two Chinese nationals from acquiring four wind-farm- project companies…Ralls Corp., had sued the U.S. government in an effort to allow the acquisition to proceed, but the White House said the ‘wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.’

    “In blocking the investment, Mr. Obama followed the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States[CFIUS], which is chaired by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and includes top officials at the Pentagon and State Department, among others…The only other time the White House has used CFIUS to block an acquisition was on Feb. 1, 1990…when President George H.W. Bush prevented the acquisition of MAMCO Manufacturing by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp., citing national security concerns…”

    “…[Both] Mr. Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are locked in a political fight over which candidate would be tougher on China…[and] trying to win over voters in the industrial Midwest…[and] decisive battleground states such as Ohio…The Obama administration has filed a series of trade complaints against China ahead of the November election, including one earlier this month, and the president has promoted the decisions on the campaign trail…Mr. Romney, in turn, has accused Mr. Obama of being soft on China and says he would label China as a currency manipulator…[The President] indicated he wouldn't take that step…

    “Ralls Corp. is owned by executives from China-based Sany Group, a construction machinery firm…In March, Ralls Corp. acquired ownership of the four wind-farm projects, but the U.S. Navy objected to where the wind turbines were going to be…In June, CFIUS... asked [Ralls] to file a voluntary petition to have the acquisition retroactively reviewed…[In] July and August, CFIUS notified Ralls officials they couldn't proceed with their plans to build the wind farms…[and] prohibited the firm from selling its assets…On Sept. 12, the Ralls Corp. sued the government trying to reverse the decision.”


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