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Legislative committee working on measures to guard against foreign adversaries buying land and assets in North Dakota

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Dave Thompson
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) talks to the interim Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee remotely

An interim legislative committee is looking at whether there needs to be more restrictions – or safeguards – when a country considered to be a foreign adversary of the United States wants to buy land or other assets.

The issue came to a head when China-based company Fufeng planned to build a corn milling plant near Grand Forks. The project was rejected because of its proximity to the Grand Forks Air Force Base, and because of Fufeng’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States had earlier said it did not have any jurisdiction over Fufeng. But the project was scuttled after the Air Force raised objections.

North Dakota US Senator Kevin Cramer told the Committee he has introduced the “CFIUS” States’ Right to Know Act.”

"What it does is, if a Governor learns about a potential acquisition — or even hears a rumor about an acquisition or sale of some sort — that Governor can ask CIFIUS if the transaction would fall under these jurisdictions."

Cramer told the Committee it may seem like an easy thing, but it isn't. He said CFIUS would have 30 days to answer the jurisdictional question.

Cramer said it’s tricky, because governors don’t have national security status.

"So I just think a big part of this would be to let states know, and give them some avenue, to let them know that something is going on," Cramer said. "Obviously, you'd rather be a partner than in the dark."

The interim Committee is looking to make recommendations to the 2025 Legislative session.

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