Two Republican Senators have introduced a bill to ban members of the Chinese Communist Party, or anyone working for the CCP, from buying real estate in the United States. The proposal comes in the wake of massive increases in investments by China and other foreign nations and a report that revealed China purchased 300 acres near an Air Force base in North Dakota.
Sens. Tom Cotton, R-AR, and Tommy Tuberville, R-AL, said 14 states have foreign investment restrictions, but there is nothing at the federal level.
“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk and provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure,” Cotton said in a statement.
That includes a Chinese company’s purchase of 300 acres in North Dakota, approximately 16 miles from a U.S. Air Force base. The Daily Mail reported that the Chinese food producing company Fufeng Group had plans to build a corn mill on the site. But military leaders and lawmakers raised concern that it was just 20 minutes from Grand Forks Air Force Base, home to sensitive drone technology.
“We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security,” Tuberville said in a statement.
According to a USDA report, foreign investors owned 37.6 million acres of forest and farmland in the United States at the end of 2020. That was a massive increase compared to a decade ago. From 2009 to 2015, foreign held land in the US increased an average of 800,000 acres per year. From 2015 to 2020, foreign held land increased by 2.2 million acres per year. Chinese investors’ holdings followed that trend, growing from just 13,700 acres in 2010 to more than 350,000 in 2020.
If the bill passes, the President would be responsible for coming up with a plan to prevent sales to foreign investors. It also imposes a financial penalty under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 of 10 to 25% of the fair market value of the land.