Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced a bill that would prevent members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying land in the U.S.
Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act, is in response to a 2020 report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggesting that “foreign persons held an interest in nearly 37.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land.”
“Approximately 14 states have some level of foreign ownership restriction, yet there are no federal restrictions on the amount of private U.S. agricultural land that can be owned,” according to the report.
The bill would also set penalties for foreign purchases that do not comply with federal reporting requirements.
“We cannot continue giving our top adversary a foot in the door to purchase land in the United States and undermine our national security,” Tuberville said in a statement.
According to Cotton’s statement, Chinese investments in U.S. agricultural is subject to provide the CCP with leverage over America’s supply chains and give them access to sensitive information critical to the nation’s national security.
“Chinese investments in American farmland put our food security at risk and provide opportunities for Chinese espionage against our military bases and critical infrastructure. Instead of allowing these purchases, the U.S. government must bar the Communist Party from purchasing our land,” Cotton said.
According to reports from the USDA, Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land spiked from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020.
“Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land surged from 13,720 acres in 2010 to 352,140 acres in 2020,” Cotton’s statement claims.
Republicans have sounded alarms on the issues, saying that Chinese land purchases near U.S. military installations should raise concerns because of possible intelligence gathering.