Jan 19, 2022

Outbound investments may spell trouble for US national security. Can screening reduce the risk?

By Atlantic Council

The US government is aware of the ways that outbound investment flows to countries like China can harm national security. Can screening those investments help the United States boost its own protection?

China Economy & Business

The US government is actively considering implementing a mechanism to screen outbound investment by US firms to address growing technological and human rights concerns, principally in China. Such an instrument was excluded from investment security modernization in 2018 (FIRRMA), and it remains unclear how it would work. However, in a recent report, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommends that Congress create an authority that would direct the administration to evaluate outbound investment and identify supply chains with China that have adverse effects on critical US interests. Once identified, the president would have the power to prohibit disadvantageous supply chain relationships.

To the same point, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has noted that the US government is “looking at the impact of outbound US investment flows that could circumvent the spirit of export controls or otherwise enhance the technological capacity of our competitors in ways that harm our national security.”

Amid this growing debate, Atlantic Council’s Economic Statecraft Initiative is hosting an expert panel discussion on Friday, January 14 from 11 am to 12 pm to discuss how to move forward. 

Please join Ben Joseloff, Corporate Associate at Cravath, Swaine and Moore and Former Senior Counsel and CFIUS Lead Counsel at the US Department of the Treasury, Dr. Sarah Bauerle Danzman, Assistant Professor at Indiana University and non-resident senior fellow, Atlantic Council, Jeffrey Fiedler, Commissioner at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and Clay Lowery, Executive Vice President at the Institute of International Finance. Julia Friedlander, C. Boyden Gray Senior Fellow and Director of the Economic Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, will moderate. 


Ben Joseloff
Corporate Associate
Cravath, Swaine and Moore
Former Senior Counsel and CFIUS Lead Counsel
United States Department of the Treasury

Sarah Bauerle Danzman
Assistant Professor of International Studies
Indiana University Bloomington
Non-resident Senior Fellow
Economic Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council

Jeffrey Fiedler
US-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Clay Lowery
Executive Vice President
Institute of International Finance


Julia Friedlander
C. Boyden Gray Senior Fellow and Director
Economic Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council

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