By Kim Jarrett (Center Square)
Grand Forks, North Dakota, will deny a building permit to a Chinese-based food manufacturer that bought land near an Air Force base, the mayor said Tuesday.
Chinese food manufacturer Fufeng Group has announced the purchase of 370 acres of land for a wet corn milling plant in 2021. The site is 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base.
In a letter to US Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoven, the USAF called the purchase of North Dakota land by a Chinese company “a significant threat to national security.”
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The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States said in December it did not have jurisdiction to weigh in on the plant.
“Although CIFUS has concluded that it does not have jurisdiction, the department’s view is unequivocal: the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near-term and long-term risks of significant impact on our operations in the region,” Andrew said in a letter to Kramer and Hoven, Hunter, Acquisitions. , Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Technology and Logistics.
Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochensky said the city would refuse to connect industrial infrastructure to the site.
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“These actions do not affect land ownership as the company will still legally own the land it purchased,” Bochensky said in a statement posted by the city. website. “The federal government’s response during this process can only be seen as slow and contradictory. The directive to include the location of the Cirrus aircraft site in Grand Forks and Chinese students and professors at the University of North Dakota leaves open the question of other entities with Chinese connections across the country.”
Gov. Doug Burgum said the Air Force letter finally gives the state clarity.
“Given these concerns, we support the City of Grand Forks’ decision to initiate steps to close the project with Fufeng Group and will support the city in finding another partner for a corn milling operation,” Bergum said in a news release. “As our farmers who compete in global markets know, agriculture is a global business, and North Dakota welcomes investment from domestic companies and our friends and allies.”
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The Fufeng purchase is related to North Dakota’s southern neighbor.
South Dakota lawmakers introduced a the bill Tuesday that created a committee on foreign investment in the United States – South Dakota to investigate the purchase of agricultural land by foreign countries.
“With this new process, we will be able to prevent countries that hate us — like Communist China — from buying our state’s farmland,” Gov. Christy Noem said in an earlier statement. “We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to purchase our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will take responsibility on this important national security issue.”
Syndicated with permission from Center Square.