Last month a Congressional panel branded two top Chinese telecommunications companies, Huawei and ZTE, as potential threats to US national security, seriously undermining their prospects of doing business in the US.
In 2005, CNOOC’s $18.5 billion bid for Unocal foundered on Congressional opposition. In 2009, CFIUS forced a Chinese mining company to give up its bid for a goldmine in Nevada near a naval air station. Last year, Huawei backed off a plan to buy assets from US computer server firm 3Leaf in the face of CFIUS objections.
“This is not the first time that the US government turns down a Chinese investment for political reasons,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in response to Obama’s ruling. “It is all about political interests when the politicians poke their noses into bilateral commercial and trade relations,” he added.
US officials insist that the Ralls decision signals no general hostility to Chinese investment. “The president’s decision is specific to this transaction and is not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China or any other country,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.