Reviews of Foreign Investment in U.S. Remain “Obscure”

“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency committee that serves the President in overseeing the national security implications of foreign investment in the economy,” the Congressional Research Service has explained (pdf).  “Originally established by an Executive Order of President Ford in 1975, the committee generally has operated in relative obscurity.”

That relative obscurity continues to prevail.  A new Department of Defense Instruction says that “The DoD CFIUS process should, to the extent possible, be a transparent process.”  Yet the same Instruction dictates that “Information or documentary material filed with CFIUS shall be exempt from disclosure [under the Freedom of Information Act] and will not be made public.”  See “DoD Procedures for Reviewing and Monitoring Transactions Filed with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” DoD Instruction 2000.25 (pdf), August 5, 2010.

Two informative background reports on CFIUS were recently updated by the Congressional Research Service (both pdf).  See “The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” July 29, 2010, and “The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment,” July 19, 2010.

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