The Biden administration plans on Wednesday to issue new restrictions on American investments in certain advanced industries in China, according to people familiar with the deliberations, a move that supporters have described as necessary to protect national security but that will undoubtedly rankle Beijing.
The measure would be one of the first significant steps the United States has taken amid an economic clash with China to clamp down on outgoing financial flows. It could set the stage for more restrictions on investments between the two countries in the years to come.
The restrictions would bar private equity and venture capital firms from making investments in certain high-tech sectors, like quantum computing, artificial intelligence and advanced semiconductors, the people said, in a bid to stop the transfer of American dollars and expertise to China.
It would also require firms making investments in a broader range of Chinese industries to report that activity, giving the government better visibility into financial exchanges between the United States and China.
“There is mounting evidence that U.S. capital is being used to advance Chinese military capabilities and that the U.S. lacks a sufficient means of combating this activity,” said Emily Benson, the director of project on trade and technology at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
The Biden administration has recently sought to calm relations with China, dispatching Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and other top officials to talk with Chinese counterparts. In recent speeches, Biden officials have argued that targeted actions taken against China are aimed purely at protecting U.S. national security, not at damaging the Chinese economy.
At the same time, the Biden administration has continued to push to “de-risk” critical supply chains by developing suppliers outside China, and it has steadily ramped up its restrictions on selling certain technologies to China, including semiconductors for advanced computing.
The Chinese government has long restricted certain foreign investments by individuals and firms. Other governments, such as those of Taiwan and South Korea, also have restrictions on outgoing investments.