Jun 27, 2018

Rubio steps up campaign against China

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio will introduce a bill Wednesday that would bar Chinese-owned companies from qualifying for small business assistance.

The big picture: It's another move in Rubio's campaign to curb Chinese influence. He's recently sounded the alarm on issues ranging from intellectual property theft to human rights violations.

Timing: The bill comes as the Trump administration is reportedly gearing up to limit Chinese companies' ability to invest in U.S. tech companies.

The details:

  • The bill includes businesses that are headquartered in China, are owned by Chinese entities, or have at least 25% of their voting stock owned by Chinese investors.
  • Under current law, any small business that legally operates in the U.S. could qualify for grants or loans under small business assistance.
  • Why it matters: The bill would ensure that money intended to stimulate the growth of American businesses does not go to Chinese-owned firms.

One more thing: Rubio is also adding language to multiple appropriations bills that would ban federal agencies from buying products from ZTE — a Chinese telecom giant that has repeatedly violated U.S. sanctions and has been labeled a national security threat by the Pentagon.

The backdrop: Rubio has been a vocal opponent of President Trump's deal to save ZTE from a Commerce Department ban, which stopped American companies from selling parts to it. He supported the Senate's vote to reinstate the ban.

Go deeper

Democrats demand new Russia sanctions over 2020 election interference

Putin and Trump. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Senate Democratic leaders will send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday afternoon demanding they sanction Russia — and potentially Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — for attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The letter follows reports that a senior intelligence official briefed Congress that Russia is again interfering in the November election to help Trump. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected that assessment on Sunday, and CNN later reported that the briefer may have overstated the intelligence community's evidence about Russia's goals.

Private equity returns fell behind stocks over the past decade

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. private equity returns fell just below S&P 500 returns for the 10-year period ending last June, according to a report released Monday morning by Bain & Company.

Why it matters: Private equity markets itself as beating public markets over long-term time horizons, and usually providing an illiquidity premium to boot. These new performance figures not only dent such claims, but provide fresh ammunition to critics of public pension investment in private equity funds.