FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, US — A US federal committee said it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to review the controversial purchase of land in North Dakota by a Chinese company for the construction of a corn wet mill.
Fufeng USA said it was pleased with the outcome by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and was “looking forward to building its wet corn milling and bio-fermentation plant in Grand Forks,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Fufeng USA is a subsidiary of Fufeng Group Ltd., which is based in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China. It plans to build a wet corn mill on a 370-acre greenfield site and produce amino acids, lysine and threonine, which are ingredients in animal nutrition feed formulations.
Residents and US lawmakers expressed concern about the $700 million project because of its proximity to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The lawmakers also were concerned about the increase in China’s purchases of US agriculture land.
CFIUS, which assesses national security risks involving foreign investments, said in a letter released by Fufeng USA that after review, it concluded that the purchase is not a covered transaction.
According to media reports, some residents said they will continue to oppose the project, noting that the CFIUS’ decision did not mean the project did not have any security risks.
US Senator Kevin Cramer from North Dakota and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview with Newsmax that he thinks the committee found some “serious concerns” during the review. He has asked for a classified briefing from the Treasury Department, which is the head of the CFIUS.“I’ve always been opposed to this investment,” he said in the interview. “I remain opposed to this investment. At the end of the day, I think thesecurity concernsare obvious. We’re talking about the Chinese Communist Party at a time when they have made it very clear that they want to take over moresupply chainsin the United States.”