By Bob Katzen

The Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee held a hearing on legislation that would establish a special commission to study the financial relationship between Massachusetts businesses and Chinese state-owned companies.

The commission would identify Massachusetts-based assets held by Chinese state-owned companies, determine the extent to which business operations conducted by Chinese state-owned companies affect local industries and assess the corresponding dangers posed to the Bay State’s economic wellbeing and sovereignty.

“In recent years, the Chinese government has attempted to use its economic power to influence the policies of foreign governments by imprisoning visiting businesspeople on spurious charges, abruptly terminating contracts with foreign companies after upfront expenses have been paid and stealing intellectual property,” said sponsor Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “Massachusetts companies, specifically those in the biotech, software, manufacturing and finance sectors, are particularly vulnerable to pressure applied by the Chinese government. The proposed commission will provide vital information about the nature and size of Chinese investment in the commonwealth and will assist lawmakers in identifying the state’s economic vulnerabilities and devising a strategy to protect local industries.”

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