Biden Administration Proposes Rules to Curb Investments in China's AI, Tech Sector

Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen addresses the Economic Club of New York luncheon, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York (AP)
Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen addresses the Economic Club of New York luncheon, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York (AP)
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Biden Administration Proposes Rules to Curb Investments in China's AI, Tech Sector

Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen addresses the Economic Club of New York luncheon, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York (AP)
Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen addresses the Economic Club of New York luncheon, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York (AP)

The United States Treasury Department has fleshed out a proposed rule that would restrict and monitor US investments in China for artificial intelligence, computer chips and quantum computing.

The fleshed-out draft rule, issued on Friday, stems from President Joe Biden’s August executive order regarding the access that “countries of concern” have to US dollars to fund advanced technologies that could enhance those nations’ military, intelligence, surveillance and cyber-capabilities. The order identified China, Hong Kong and Macau as countries of concern, according to the Associated Press.

The Biden administration has sought to stymie the development of technologies by China, the world’s second largest economy, that could give it a military edge or enable it to dominate emerging sectors such as electric vehicles (EVs).

In addition to the proposed rule, Biden, a Democrat, has also placed a stiff tariff on Chinese EVs, an issue with political implications as Biden and his Republican presidential opponent Donald Trump are both trying to show voters who can best stand up to China, a geopolitical rival and major trading partner.

According to the Financial Times, the regulation — which could be amended following a six-week public comment period — is aimed at restricting the flow of US technology, capital and expertise to groups in China that work with the People's Liberation Army.

The newspaper said it is the latest US effort to make it harder for Chinese groups deemed to be a security threat to gain access to new technology and will complement several sweeping export control packages introduced over the past two years.

Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security Paul Rosen said, “This proposed rule advances our national security by preventing the many benefits certain US investments provide—beyond just capital—from supporting the development of sensitive technologies in countries that may use them to threaten our national security.”

The regulation would introduce outright bans on certain investments and require American individuals and organizations to notify the government of other transactions, FT said.

It also includes possible exceptions, including for investments in publicly traded securities or funds. The new rule would affect everything from equity investments to debt financing that is convertible to equity. It would also apply to greenfield investments and joint ventures. But it would exempt investments by limited partners (LP) — endowments and pension funds that seed venture capital and private equity groups — below a certain threshold.

According to FT, the Treasury said the regulation would prevent the exploitation of US investment by countries “seeking to develop sensitive technologies or products that are critical to the next generation of military, intelligence, surveillance, or cyber-enabled capabilities” that pose a threat to the US. But it singled out China as a “country of concern.”

J. Philip Ludvigson, a partner at King & Spalding and a former Treasury official for Investment Security, said “companies and investors are now getting a much better look at what will be expected of them” under the new outbound investment program.

“These added details are particularly important because the private sector will be shouldering the many due diligence and compliance burdens associated with making new investments,” he said.

The Biden administration has been criticized — mostly by Republican lawmakers — for not proposing to ban investment in publicly traded securities.

FT said the effort to screen outbound investment is one of a number of issues that have stoked tensions between the US and China.

In the six months since Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping met in San Francisco, the two countries have stepped up high-level engagement to try to stabilize relations.

But senior US officials from Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to national security adviser Jake Sullivan have been clear with Beijing that Washington will continue to introduce measures to reduce what they view as security threats from China.



Moody’s Upgrades Türkiye’s Ratings to B1 on Tight Monetary Policy

A street vendor waits for customers at an underground passage in Istanbul, Türkiye, July 11, 2024. (Reuters)
A street vendor waits for customers at an underground passage in Istanbul, Türkiye, July 11, 2024. (Reuters)
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Moody’s Upgrades Türkiye’s Ratings to B1 on Tight Monetary Policy

A street vendor waits for customers at an underground passage in Istanbul, Türkiye, July 11, 2024. (Reuters)
A street vendor waits for customers at an underground passage in Istanbul, Türkiye, July 11, 2024. (Reuters)

Ratings agency Moody's upgraded Türkiye’s ratings to "B1" from "B3" on Friday, citing improvements in governance and a tighter stance on monetary policy.

Backed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and spear-headed by Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, Türkiye has been implementing a tight monetary and fiscal policy since last year to tackle soaring inflation. Annual inflation dipped to below 72% last month from above 75% in May, which is seen as the peak.

Türkiye’s central bank has raised its main rate to 50% from 8.5% since Simsek was appointed last year.

The country's central bank has recently said it will maintain its tight monetary policy stance until a permanent decline in inflation is achieved. In June, the central bank reiterated that disinflation would take hold in the second half of the year.

Last month, the international crime watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), removed Türkiye from its "grey list" of countries that require special scrutiny, in a boost to the country's economic turnaround plan.

Moody's is the first credit ratings agency to announce new ratings for Türkiye following the FATF decision.

Lower current-account deficit and improvement in the central bank's financial position has materially reduced the country's external vulnerability, Moody's said.

"Earlier concerns over rising risks of a full-blown balance of payments crisis - which had triggered successive downgrades to the B3 rating level - have for now dissipated," the agency added in a statement.

The agency also maintained its "positive" outlook on Türkiye, expecting authorities to maintain its tight economic policy stance for longer.