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Cornyn and Feinstein. Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call

A new version of a foreign investment oversight bill championed by Sens. John Cornyn and Dianne Feinstein allows certain countries that are "strategic partners" of the U.S. to be exempt from review, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Why it matters: The changes show effort to alleviate concerns of American companies that feared the original bill's reach was too broad and would hurt business.

The backdrop: The legislation focuses on updating The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which has been taking a more aggressive approach to proposed mergers between U.S. and Chinese tech companies.

U.S. companies worried that some of the bill's original language was too vague, particularly in terms of what types of technologies and transactions would receive CFIUS scrutiny.

The details: Axios has learned will be three new changes to the bill.

  1. Define terms like “ordinary business transaction,” “associated support,” and “foreign person” to give the industry more certainty as to what transactions will be reviewed.
  2. Exempt reviews of transactions that are already covered by the export control board.
  3. Include "strategic partners" — countries beyond just treaty allies — on a "safe list" that exempts certain transactions from review.

What this means: The changes appear to let companies avoid CFIUS scrutiny on transactions like overseas equipment and license sales, but still do not address how CFIUS would define "critical technologies" or "critical infrastructure."

Go deeper

5 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

48 mins ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.

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