Poll: North Carolinians Strongly Disapprove Of Chinese Land Ownership in USA

by | Feb 20, 2024 | America's Adversaries

Voters have become more concerned over ownership of American assets by our nation’s adversaries.

A recent poll shows an overwhelming majority of voters in North Carolina say Chinese firms should not be allowed to own U.S. farmland. According to a poll conducted for the League of American Workers, three-fourths of likely voters in North Carolina say Chinese firms should not be allowed to own U.S. farmland. They also strongly reject the notion of foreign companies buying strategic U.S. assets, such as food and steel production companies.

The poll surveyed 600 likely voters in North Carolina, with a 4 percent margin of error. Voters rejected Chinese ownership of farmland 74 to 18 percent, and foreign ownership of strategic assets by 73 to 18 percent. Notably, the poll recorded majorities across party lines.

These results are not surprising, but they do carry significant weight going into the 2024 election. Voters have become more concerned over foreign ownership of American assets as more news has come to light. Chinese entities have their highest ownership in the states of North Carolina and Missouri. The United States Senate has conducted hearings in the past several months over increased ownership of domestic land and production capabilities by foreign interests. Foreign direct investment in U.S. businesses and land increased by $216.8 billion from 2021 to 2022, standing at a staggering total of $5.25 trillion.

Adversaries Near Military Bases?

The most alarming land purchases have occurred adjacent to military bases, notably in Michigan, North Dakota, Texas, and California. House Republicans introduced legislation earlier this month to make such purchases illegal for entities from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

The total amount of land owned in the United States by Chinese firms is just under 400,000 acres. Chinese companies are required by law to work strategically with the Chinese Communist Party, with direct governmental involvement in their operations. According to NBC News, the share of agricultural land owned by foreign interests has increased, as has the pace of acquisitions. Between 2015 and 2021, land owned by companies in all foreign countries increased by an average of 2.2 million acres per year. Foreigners now own about 3.1 percent of the agricultural land in the United States—a total of 40 million acres.

(RELATED: North Carolina Parents Score Victory Against Woke School Bureaucrats)

China Investing in North Carolina

Foreign ownership of domestic food production has faced congressional scrutiny before. In 2013, the CEO of North Carolina-based Smithfield Foods, America’s largest pork producer, testified in front of a Senate committee about the sale of his company to a Chinese conglomerate. That sale helped increase the value of Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland from $81 million to $1.4 billion in just a 2 year period. Rolling Stone, of all outlets, reported on the controversy:

Questions soon emerged about the transaction. China’s national economy is directed by Five-Year Plans, economic blueprints handed down by the government that private companies are expected to follow. In 2011, as the nation’s billion-plus citizens continued to forge a stable middle class of pork consumers, the government issued a plan directing Chinese companies to buy foreign food producers and farmland. In two years, Chinese nationals went from owning $81 million worth of American farmland to nearly $1.4 billion, including the Smithfield purchase.

Despite [the CEO’s] denials of Chinese-government involvement, the nation’s central bank had approved a $4 billion cash loan to fund the acquisition, a transaction its 2013 annual report described as a “social responsibility.” The investigative news organization Reveal uncovered documents showing that WH Group receives guidance from the government, which a company executive explained was because “pork is considered a national-security issue in China.”

The Department of Commerce promotes business investment to foreign investment under the SelectUSA program. According to the International Trade Department website:

SelectUSA is the U.S. government program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on facilitating job-creating business investment into the United States and raising awareness of the critical role that economic development plays in the U.S. economy. Since its inception, SelectUSA has facilitated more than $200 billion in investment, creating and/or retaining over 200,000 U.S. jobs.

However, the total amount of foreign investment has been shrouded by a lack of accurate reporting, both on the amount and the identities of those doing the investing.

The purchase of U.S. farmland by foreign entities has faced renewed scrutiny this year, after a Government Accountability Office report showed the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has consistently failed to keep accurate data on foreign investments as required under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978. Even the Pentagon has chastised the USDA for failing to provide more up-to-date data.

Though the total amount of foreign purchases of U.S. farmland remains just over 3 percent, the marked increase in the pace of investment, combined with a lack of sunlight about those making the purchases, understandably has voters in North Carolina and elsewhere on edge.

(READ MORE: North Carolinians Are Fed Up with Biden’s Open Border Chaos)

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