US President Barack Obama arrives under rainy skies in
North Canton, Ohio, on his way to Kent State University
during his campaign for re-election. REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Barack Obama has blocked a privately owned
Chinese company from building wind turbines close to a Navy
military site in Oregon due to national security concerns.
Ralls Corp, which had been installing wind turbine generators
made in China by Sany Group, will now be forced shelve its
plans and divest its interest in the four wind farm projects
it acquired earlier this year.
"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe" that
Ralls Corp and Sany Group "might take action that threatens
to impair the national security of the United States," Obama
said in the order issued by the White House.
The projects were all within or in the vicinity of restricted
air space at a naval weapons systems training facility in
Oregon, the administration said.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
(CFIUS) had ordered Ralls to stop all construction and
operations at its four wind farm projects while the
government completed its investigation and provided its
recommendation to Obama.
Although CFIUS reviews dozens of foreign investment deals for
potential national security concerns, the president is rarely
called upon to issue a formal order as companies usually
abandon their deals or divest assets when the panel takes
issue with their transaction.
The last time a president formally blocked a deal on national
security grounds was in 1990 when then President George H.W.
Bush stopped a Chinese aero-technology company from acquiring
a U.S. manufacturing firm.
Obama's decision comes as two other Chinese companies are
vying for CFIUS approval and the president campaigns for a
second term. Obama's trade and economic policies have come
under fire from his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, who has
accused him of being soft on China.
The Treasury Department said Obama's decision was not a
precedent for other investments from China or any other