Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States will review proposed Fufeng project in Grand Forks
The committee – commonly known as CFIUS – will review the corn mill proposed by Fufeng USA, a company with ties to China that seeks to build a large plant on the city’s northern edge
GRAND FORKS – The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States this week said it will review the Fufeng USA project proposed for Grand Forks, according to the city administrator.
The committee – commonly known as CFIUS – will review the corn mill proposed by Fufeng USA, a company with ties to China that seeks to build a large plant on the city’s northern edge and which, some believe, poses a risk to national security. City Administrator Todd Feland said now that CFIUS has officially decided to review Fufeng, the process begins to determine if the plant will indeed move forward.
“So my understanding is that really starts the review clock, at least for the initial 45-day review period,” Feland said.
While the initial review period is expected to last approximately 45 days, Feland said CFIUS can request additional time for further review.
“It sounds like there’s an initial up to 45-day review, but they can request an additional 45 days so it could be up to a 90-day review. But we’ll have to see how quickly it goes,” Feland said. “Fufeng USA did submit as part of that 30-day review so there is some understanding of the project and now it’s more the longer-term review that’s undergoing now. So we’ll at least hear something within 45 days, whether there’s a decision or if they’re going to request additional time to continue their review.”
In September, the city paused all Fufeng-related construction after CFIUS said more information is needed before it can determine whether the Chinese-owned agribusiness poses a risk to national security, especially considering its relative proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base. That’s been a chief concern among many opponents, including U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who spoke about national security implications in a broadcast interview on Wednesday.
“Both Senator (John) Hoeven, my North Dakota colleague who’s importantly a defense appropriator, and myself — on the Senate Armed Services Committee — we both believe strongly that Grand Forks should reject this opportunity and look somewhere else,” Cramer said during the interview with Newsmax. “We’re more than happy to help them find a better tenant for that land than Fufeng and the [Chinese Communist Party].”
Cramer also talked about the proximity of Fufeng to the base.
“We’ve heard from people within the industry as well as from within the Air Force and other agencies that they are concerned about the proximity of this facility [to Grand Forks Air Force Base],” Cramer said. “But remember, this is a local decision along with the state. I would like to help them find a better partner than the Chinese Communist Party.”
Feland said if CFIUS does determine risks to national security, the Fufeng project will not move forward.
“If there was a federal government finding of a national security risk, certainly that’s a regular requirement that we would not be able to move forward with the project,” Feland said.
As for the land where the wet corn mill plant is proposed to be built, Feland said if CFIUS determined a national security threat it's his understanding that CFIUS would require some sort of divestment of the company, which in this case would include the land.
“I think it would be to-be-determined if there was a national security finding regarding this case of all the steps the federal government would require of Fufeng to divest and mitigate the issue," Feland said.