Israel to Form Committee to Monitor Chinese Investments Following U.S. Pressure

Israel's security cabinet decided Wednesday to establish a mechanism to monitor Chinese investments, following three years of debate and pressure from the United States.

The meeting came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, and was only scheduled last week.

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Haaretz Weekly Ep. 45Haaretz

The proposal calls for creating a body only with the power to advise on prospective foreign investments in Israeli companies. The firms subject to vetting would be in businesses designated as critical to the economy or to national security, including companies involved in infrastructure or with access to Israelis’ personal data, such as telecommunications companies, financial institutions and arms makers.

The security cabinet held a last-minute meeting to weigh the proposal on Tuesday morning, which was formulated by the National Security Council. The council announced Wednesday afternoon that the finance ministry, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council and the security cabinet made the decision to create an advisory committee led by the finance ministry to examine matters of national security in the process of approving international investments in Israel.

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The announcement said that multiple government agencies will participate in the committee, including the foreign ministry, the defense ministry and various financial bodies. Regulators will consult with the committee voluntarily; business transactions that do not require government approval will not be brought before it.

"Israel is joining many countries, among them the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and others, who have also formulated processes to improve oversight of foreign investments for national security purposes," the announcement read. Regulators will be able to consult with the committee starting on January 1, 2020.