(The Center Square) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is asking Congress to pass a law requiring state and local governments to divest themselves of Chinese interests.
Noem says the Asian country is a threat to national security.
"The Chinese Communist party is ramping up their efforts to purchase large components of America's food supply, including chemical companies, fertilizer companies, processing facilities, and now our nation's agricultural land," Noem said in the letter.
The move is the latest from the governor, who in recent weeks, has banned the Chinese-owned app TikTok from state devices and asked the state investment board to determine if any state investments had ties to China.
The review by the South Dakota Investment Council found the state had divested itself of any Chinese interests, according to a news release from Noem's office. But about one-third of the SDIC's portfolio has ties to Chinese companies through an emerging markets index ETF. Investments in Chinese real estate through external funds makes up about 0.7% of the portfolio. Noem has asked the SDIC to find alternatives.
Noem is backing a bill proposed by Sen. Erin Tobin. R-Winner, and Rep.-elect Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, that would create a board to investigate purchases of agricultural land by foreign interests.
The governor also penned a letter to investment bank Vanguard asking them to move away from Chinese investments.
"I recognize that China falls under the definition of 'emerging markets' that Vanguard uses," Noem said in the letter to Vanguard CEO Mortimer Buckley. "However with the world's second largest GDP of approximately $18 trillion dollars, I take issue with the idea that China is an 'emerging market.' For this reason, I ask that Vanguard create an alternative emerging markets fund that does not include China."