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Home » U.S. House committee flags MSCI, BlackRock for China investments

U.S. House committee flags MSCI, BlackRock for China investments

by Cody Doyle
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U.S. investments in around 50 blacklisted Chinese companies have drawn the attention of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

The committee on Tuesday announced it sent separate letters to MSCI and BlackRock asking for more information about the firms’ facilitation of U.S. investments into those Chinese companies.

The Chinese companies were blacklisted over claims of supporting China’s military or alleged human rights abuses, the committee said. It noted the initial review did not include one of the largest blacklists, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List.

“The true scale is likely much larger,” the letters said.

MSCI said in a statement it is reviewing the request for information, and that it doesn’t “facilitate” investments in any country. “MSCI indexes measure the performance of equity markets available to international investors, and comply with all applicable US laws,” the indexing giant said.

BlackRock did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

The U.S. House committee estimated that five BlackRock funds have invested more than $429 million into the blacklisted names. Those companies also accounted for nearly 5% of the MSCI China A Index’s value as of March 1, the committee said.

U.S.-China tensions

The request for information comes as the U.S. has increased its scrutiny of financial ties with China.

Last week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly backed legislation that would require U.S. firms to notify the Treasury when investing in advanced Chinese technology on national security concerns. An earlier version of the legislation had called for investment restrictions.

President Joe Biden has long been expected to issue an executive order that would restrict U.S. investment in high-end Chinese tech. No action has yet been announced.

Last month, the House committee said it sent letters to four U.S. venture capital firms over their investments into Chinese artificial intelligence, semiconductor and quantum computing companies.

The committee cited allegations that China was using such technologies for military development or perpetuation of human rights abuses.

Beijing has denied such abuses, and published claims of “human rights violations in the United States.”

Source: CNBC

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