President Donald Trump is taking aim at "harmful" foreign investment in U.S. technology companies, including supporting the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) legislation in Congress.
He is also getting Commerce to review the export of critical technologies, and change any policies in order to protect national security or defend U.S. technology leadership.
Trump said Wednesday that "certain countries direct and facilitate systematic investment in United States companies and assets in order to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property in industries those countries deem important."
He also said the goal is to protect the country's tech "crown jewels" from foreign investments that "threaten our national security and future economic prosperity."
Last March, the President blocked -- by executive order -- the merger of chip makers Broadcom and Qualcomm, calling it a potential security risk and saying that the proposed takeover of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom Ltd. and its Broadcom Corp. (California) and Broadcom Cayman (Cayman Islands) partners "threatens to impair the national security of the United States."
The President said he would vigorously enforce FIRRMA if it passes, and if it doesn't try to replicate it through tools at his disposal under existing authorities.
In addition, only weeks after the President directed Commerce to reverse course and help Chinese telecom ZTE after it had been sanctioned by Commerce and branded a potential national security threat by top intelligence officials, the President Wednesday (June 27) said he was directing Commerce to examine "issues related to the transfer and export of critical technologies" and "make any modifications that may be needed to strengthen them to defend our national security and technological leadership."
Commerce had blocked U.S. tech exports to ZTE over its dealings with Iran and North Korea.