Barack Obama’s political career was built in the ‘windy city’ of Chicago. And wind politics came to fore last week as the US president vetoed a Chinese wind-farm investment in America. The rejection was based on national security concerns – the project was close to a naval test facility in Oregon – although some will suspect instead a ‘bash China’ strategy designed to win votes in the current election cycle (see WiC166).
The potential acquirer is Ralls Corp, a firm owned by executives of China’s Sany Group (a huge engineering and machinery manufacturer, which is also providing the farm’s wind turbines). Sany is one of China’s biggest private sector companies and its tycoon boss, Liang Wengen is the nation’s second richest man (based on Hurun’s recent ranking).
Obama’s decision is an unusual one – it’s the first time in 22 years that a president has vetoed a foreign acquisition on national security grounds. The upset Chinese party has taken the similarly unusual step of retaliating with a lawsuit claiming the president acted “unconstitutionally”. Its chances of success are slim according to US lawyers contacted by the Wall Street Journal. But Sany officials remain adamant there is no national security risk and the veto is unfair.
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