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Three Threats: An Analytical Framework for the CFIUS Process


  • Theodore H. Moran

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)


Under what conditions might a foreign acquisition of a US company constitute a genuine national security threat to the United States? What kinds of risks and threats should analysts and strategists on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), as well as their congressional overseers, be prepared to identify and deal with? This study looks at three types of foreign acquisitions of US companies that may pose a legitimate national security threat. The first is a proposed acquisition that would make the United States dependent on a foreign-controlled supplier of goods or services that are crucial to the functioning of the US economy and that this supplier might delay, deny, or place conditions on the provision of those goods or services. The second is a proposed acquisition that would allow the transfer to a foreign-controlled entity of technology or other expertise that might be deployed in a manner harmful to US national interests. The third potential threat is a proposed acquisition that would provide the capability to infiltrate, conduct surveillance on, or sabotage the provision of goods or services that are crucial to the functioning of the US economy. This study analyzes these threats in detail and considers what criteria are needed for a proposed foreign acquisition to be considered threatening. Ultimately, the vast majority of foreign acquisitions pose no credible threat to national security on these grounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore H. Moran, 2009. "Three Threats: An Analytical Framework for the CFIUS Process," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4297.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:4297

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    Cited by:

    1. Miroslav N. Jovanovic, 2011. "Globalisation: An Anatomy," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Moran, Theodore H. & Görg, Holger & Seric, Adnan, 2016. "Quality FDI and Supply-Chains in Manufacturing: Overcoming Obstacles and Supporting Development," KCG Policy Papers 1, Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG).
    3. Theodore H. Moran, 2014. "Foreign Investment and Supply Chains in Emerging Markets: Recurring Problems and Demonstrated Solutions," Working Paper Series WP14-12, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    4. C. Fred Bergsten & Cathleen Cimino & Gary Clyde Hufbauer & J. Bradford Jensen & Sean Miner & Theodore H. Moran & Jeffrey J. Schott, 2015. "Toward a US-China Investment Treaty," PIIE Briefings PIIEB15-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    5. Moran, Theodore H. & Görg, Holger & Seric, Adnan & Krieger-Boden, Christiane, 2017. "How to Attract Quality FDI?," KCG Policy Papers 2, Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG).
    6. Theodore H Moran, 2016. "The Role of Industrial Policy as a Development Tool: New Evidence from the Globalization of Trade-and-Investment," Working Papers id:8423, eSocialSciences.
    7. repec:taf:rripxx:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:859-880 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. David Kemme, 2012. "Soverign Wealth Fund Issues and the National Fund(s) of Kazakhstan," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1036, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    9. Theodore H. Moran, 2015. "Chinese Investment and CFIUS: Time for an Updated (and Revised) Perspective," Policy Briefs PB15-17, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    10. Haiyan Zhang & Daniel Bulcke, 2014. "China’s direct investment in the European Union: a new regulatory challenge?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 159-177, March.

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