If China is our greatest information and IP threat, why are U.S. private pensions still investing in it?

July 8, 2020, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging the Department of Labor to block U.S. private pension plans from investing in China after FBI Director Christopher Wray called China “The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property”:

“Yesterday, FBI Director Christopher Wray called China’s counter-intelligence and economic espionage, ‘The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property’ of our nation, a statement which was tweeted out by former CIA Director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Given this, why are U.S. private pension funds still investing in Chinese assets?  The U.S. Labor Department has a legal responsibility under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to make certain that pension funds are only invested in fiduciarily sound investments. What most people don’t know, perhaps the Labor Department included, is that in 2013 the Obama-Biden administration issued a Memorandum of Understanding waiving the transparency requirements that U.S. companies must comply with to be traded on the stock exchanges for Chinese companies and bonds.  This fact alone makes every Chinese asset that does not have annual audits and open books to be unsuitable for U.S. private pension fund investment.  What’s more, ten days ago, the Pentagon named twenty Chinese companies as owned and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. These companies, which include Huawei and China Telecomm are little more than Chinese spy agency extensions and yet, the Labor Department is ignoring their responsibility to require the divestment of the pensions of millions of Americans’ pensions from these dangerous firms.

“In May, the Senate acted to require transparency for Chinese firms listed on American exchanges, and hopefully that becomes law, but right now the Labor Department is seeking comments on a regulation defining the suitability of certain investments for private pension portfolios, and the simple addition requiring pension investment assets to be subject to the same transparency requirements that every U.S. investment must meet, is a bare minimum standard.  The Labor Department has been doing yeoman’s work on many issues and indeed the regulation defining suitable pension investments is a needed and welcome change, but it would be a shame if my good friends at Labor didn’t take this opportunity to join with the Senate, the Secretary of State, FBI Director and the President by specifically amending the suitable investment language to include a requirement that basic transparency requirements be followed.

“It is time for American pensions to stop capitalizing Chinese companies seeking to destroy us, and forcing transparency in pension investments will effectively end our nation’s private pensioners from providing the money needed for China to continue its long war against the United States of America.”

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