White House says US investments in foreign chip firms are potential concern

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U.S. investment in foreign chip companies is a potential concern for the Joe Biden administration, a White House official said on Wednesday, stressing that a final decision on a possible mechanism to regulate local investments in China.

During an event at the Atlantic Council, National Security Council official Peter Harrell referred to the government’s efforts to boost chip manufacturing in the United States with $52 billion in subsidies through a recent law and its policies of export controls, which have tried to curb shipments of specialized chips and chip-making tools to China.

However, he argued that “it is important to consider whether and how certain categories of US investment in foreign competitor’s semiconductor companies could undermine the effectiveness of these other policy tools,” Harrell said.

Sources familiar with the matter indicated that the White House has been working on a decree that allows the Government to review and block certain US investments in high-tech sectors abroad, especially in China, that could harm national security.

The decree, which could be published before the end of the year, took on new importance after a similar measure was removed from legislation subsidizing the semiconductor industry earlier this year.

Harrell, who is scheduled to leave office next month, stressed that any measures targeting US investments abroad must be tailored to address loopholes in current US authorities and specific risks to national security.

He also indicated that the Biden administration is in contact with allies that have already implemented similar regimes.

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