It is time for a more proactive approach to protecting and reviving America’s industrial core, not just by investing more domestic dollars, but by attracting productive foreign investment from trusted allies and vetted companies. There is nothing wrong with a foreign owner of a U.S. asset, but the acquisition process should be transparent, open, and informed. Distressed local communities, in fact, stand to gain the most by the viable and sustainable infusion of resources, whether domestic or foreign.
Congress has already taken one giant step toward fending off buyers who disguise their identity. The beneficial ownership reporting requirements in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act bring greater transparency to the purchase of U.S. assets by outlawing the domestic use of anonymous shell corporations. But we should not merely be trying to stop shady purchases. We should also be actively encouraging long-term and viable investment in America’s industrial foundation. Part of that should come domestically, with long overdue investments in America’s infrastructure. A new infrastructure bill can and should revitalize America’s industrial capacity.
As I have written before, America can strengthen its security, its supply chains, and its economy through “ally-shoring,” that is, working with trusted allies to mutually strengthen our supply chains, trading relationships, and foreign direct investment. In the wake of Covid-19, reimagining our dependent supply chains is a national security priority. However, ally-shoring doesn’t stop with bringing vulnerable supply chains closer to home. For too long, the U.S. has lacked a strategic vision to support and develop its vast industrial assets. Bringing key American allies into the process can help ensure that American interests are protected while, at the same time, injecting life and cash into essential industries that employ millions of Americans while strengthening our global alliances.
Through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, we have shown that we can monitor improper foreign control of key American industries and technologies. It is time to recognize that our critical assets include not only advanced technology and cutting-edge military hardware, but America’s critical industrial core, from our steel plants, to our skyscrapers and the workers employed there.