Business, Economics and Jobs

Obama blocks Chinese wind farm purchase on national security grounds


President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese company from building wind turbines close to a US Navy site on September 28, 2012, citing national security reasons.



President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese company from purchasing four wind farm projects in Oregon on Friday, citing national security concerns.

The wind farms would be located near a Navy base which sees US military drones and electronic-war planes, the Associated Press noted.

This is the first time in 22 years that an American president has blocked a foreign business deal.

The firm wishing to make the purchase, Ralls Corp., is owned by two Chinese nationals and sued the US government to allow the acquisition to proceed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

However, 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," according to The Journal.

Obama followed the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), chaired by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, when he made his decision.

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"The president’s action demonstrates the administration’s commitment to protecting national security while maintaining the United States’ longstanding policy on open investment," said the US Treasury in a statement today, according to Bloomberg.

The company, Ralls, which is owned by the Chinese company Sany Group Co., was seeking to develop wind farms in Oregon after purchasing the land and rights earlier this year, Bloomberg reported.

The last CFIUS ruling was made by former President George H. W. Bush in 1990 against the acquisition of MAMCO Manufacturing Inc., by China National Aero-Technology and Export Corp.

The AP noted that Obama's decision comes during an election year when he has been accused by his Republican challenger Mitt Romney of being soft on China.

The CFIUS recommendation was made after an analysis of threats by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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