One week after China’s largest state-run food and agriculture company announced its acquisition of a grain terminal in Cahokia, Illinois, a bipartisan pair of U.S. House members from Illinois urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin to conduct “an immediate review of the acquisition to weigh the consequences for America’s national security and the region’s agricultural economy.”  As Treasury Secretary, Yellin also serves as the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews the national security implications of certain foreign investments in the United States.

According to the June 27, 2024 letter sent by U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Nikki Budzinski (D-IL), the transaction fully divests U.S. ownership of the Cahokia facility, which is a grain and byproduct transloading terminal “[s]trategically located on the Mississippi River near St. Louis” on the Illinois-Missouri border.  The Cahokia facility also operates as a high-speed rail and truck-to-barge loading terminal.

As noted by the letter, the Cahokia facility is the latest instance of a Chinese entity purchasing U.S. agricultural assets.  In fact, the concern of foreign entities, especially those from China, was the major impetus behind a recent law codified in March 2024 adding the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of CFIUS, albeit only when CFIUS is tasked with reviewing foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land, agriculture biotechnology, or the agriculture industry (including agricultural transportation, agricultural storage, and agricultural processing).  See Update of March 14, 2024.