NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — A proposed Chinese-owned corn milling plant 12 miles away from Grand Forks Air Force Base went from a local issue to now on the national level with Senator Marco Rubio, the leading Republican on intelligence, joining our senators Kevin Kramer and John Hoeven in calling for the project to be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign investment in the United States, or CFIUS, a US inter-agency committee that reviews foreign investments for national security concerns.

Congressman Kelly Armstrong joined us for a KX Conversation Wednesday night to discuss the FuFeng Group’s proposed corn mill plant in Grand Forks

Now, last July, I talked to you about the Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act. That amendment would ban China from buying more US farmland and exclude Chinese land from receiving farm program payments. during that interview, you told me that there’s no real distinction between large Chinese businesses and the Chinese Communist Party. They’re, quote, “intertwined completely.” Given your position, do you now oppose the Chinese company Fufeng Group locating a facility near Grand Forks Air Force Base? 

“Well, I think, first of all, we have a select committee on China in the US House. And, I’m not a big fan of select committees. But this is absolutely a select committee we need to keep moving forward. I agree with the CFIUS review. I also agree with Governor Burgum that they need to complete it quickly. But I think we need to have an overall policy on China because they are our number one strategic adversary. I do not think the Chinese government should be operating farmland in the United States. This land will not be farmed, whether it’s them or somebody else it will take I mean, this is the growth of cities in North Dakota ended up doing this a lot. So I think the city has reviews important and one of the reasons I think it’s important is because we should not ask local city commissions whether it’s in Grand Forks, or Fargo or Omaha, Nebraska to be fighting this war. And the United States and the US Congress and the US government has to have a better strategic answer for how we deal with China moving forward,” said Armstrong.

Now, last year, during our conversation about Securing America’s land from Foreign Interference Act, you said we shouldn’t be taking tax dollars and paying them to the Chinese government. Now, the Fufeng project is taking our city, state, and federal dollars. And as you say, there’s no distinction between large Chinese businesses and the government. Do you think millions of our tax dollars should have already been committed? 

Grand Forks Region Economic Development rundown of local, state, and federal tax dollars going to Fufeng Group

“Well, I’m not sure if they’re taking any federal dollars, and I wouldn’t support them from taking federal dollars. I mean, listen, I was in the state legislature, and how we dealt with those issues are the same. But again, how I mean, what a city does these things? I mean, we have these conversations for incentives in every community all across the country. One of the things I’m always very careful of and I’ll continue to be on this or anything else I served in the State Senate. There are things that is the role of the state government, there are things that are the role of the community government, and there’s things that are the role of the federal government. I don’t think they should be getting any federal dollars whatsoever,” said Armstrong.

They are getting federal dollars.

In our interview, again, you pointed out China’s buying of Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, and you know, it’s a project of another example of China producing their own commodity in America again, or, you know, is the US allowed to buy land in China and produce commodities and exported back to them?

Well, when they don’t have a enough land to feed their own people? I don’t think there’s a whole lot of US companies that would be interested in doing business in China. But as Smithfield, I mean, they’ve started buying. I mean, it’s a publicly traded company and buying shares of those things. And yeah, I think we should have more robust conversations about all of that. But, we should have a serious and clear policy about how we’re going to deal with this moving forward. And if we don’t, and that’s a dereliction. And like I said, it’s one of the few things that I think that we should continue in the US House as a select committee, and it’s how we deal with China moving forward, and we have to have that conversation,” explained Armstrong.