Members of the North Carolina state legislature are debating whether or not to limit citizens or companies from North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China from owning property in the state. The effort coincides with a wider one across the nation to limit land holdings by nations deemed hostile to the United States.
Under the bill, companies that were half or more controlled by the nations mentioned above could not purchase or lease any land near either a military base or farmland.
The bill appears headed toward passage, as the state’s House of Representatives passed the measure unanimously.
The Tarheel state is not the first to debate the topic. A number of states, primarily in the Midwest, have restricted foreign ownership within their borders.
There have been a number of federal efforts to ban such land purchases. The Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act was sponsored by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) and supported by a number of legislators, including Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).
Tuberville wrote that the effort would “increase federal oversight of foreign investments in agricultural land.” He added that “our food and national security must be prioritized and protected from bad actors.”
The Alabama senator introduced a similar Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act earlier in 2023. In 2022, the senator introduced the Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act, which would bar members of the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing land in the U.S.
Communist China should not own a single inch of United States soil. Full stop.https://t.co/lxkLaHlIxI
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) April 28, 2023
In particular, efforts by a Chinese company to create an agricultural facility near an American military base led to considerable attention. Fufeng Group, which has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, purchased 370 acres for a corn mill near Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Grand Forks is the site of a number of drone activities for the U.S. military.
The potential project led to a significant backlash, including by the state’s Senate delegation. The state’s senators, Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) penned a letter with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requesting a review of the project.
The city council of Grand Forks, North Dakota rejected the proposed plan by a 5-0 vote.
Foreign nations own approximately 29 million acres in the United States, while China has dramatically increased its land purchases across the country. Chinese citizens and companies now hold almost 400,000 acres across the country.