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Last week John Cornyn, a Republican US senator, announced legislation that would change how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cfius) works. The world and international finance have changed dramatically over the more than four decades since Cfius was established, and the time is ripe for lawmakers to review the process in order to make it work even better. 日前,共和党参议员约翰?科宁(John Cornyn)宣布了改革美国外国投资委员会(CFIUS)工作方式的立法。世界和国际金融在CFIUS成立以来的40多年里发生了翻天覆地的变化,是时候由立法者审议该委员会的工作流程,以使其更好地发挥作用。 This little known inter-agency committee has been tasked with vetting transactions for national security risks since 1975. Over time, the task has changed as the threats to national security have changed. From the cold war era to cyber warfare, Cfius has always reflected contemporary preoccupations, such as increased Japanese investment in the US in the early 1990s or the post-9/11 concerns with protecting CRItical infrastructure. 自1975年以来,这个鲜为人知的跨部门委员会一直负责审查可能影响国家安全的交易。随着时间的推移,随着国家安全面临的威胁改变,该委员会的任务也发生了变化。从冷战时代到网络战争,CFIUS一直反映了当代要务,比如上世纪90年代初日本对美投资增加,或者9/11事件之后关注保护关键基础设施。 Fast forward to a changed environment in 2017. National security threats come from different directions and sources. Vulnerabilities are increased via technology. We now have a world characterised by globalisation and trade friction. And, to be clear, it is not just the threats that have changed, but also the structure of deals, the players involved (think private equity), and the kinds of investments that reflect increasing globalisation (think co-investment). 快进到2017年的新环境。对国家安全构成的威胁来自不同方向和源头。技术进步带来更多的脆弱性。我们现在看到的世界以全球化和贸易摩擦为特征。同时应该指出的是,改变的不只是威胁,而且还有交易架构、参与者 (想想私人股本),以及反映全球化程度提高的投资类型(想想联合投资)。 These factors, along with the recent upsurge in Chinese investment, have come together in a perfect storm, making this the ideal time to re-evaluate how Cfius works and how it could be improved. 这些因素,加上近年中国投资激增,汇聚成一场完美风暴,让现在成为重新评估CFIUS运作方式以及如何改进这种方式的理想时机。 While considering changes that are intended to better suit our times, it is important to remember that for the changes to be effective, they must strike a balance between ensuring that the US remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for foreign investment, and protecting the safety and security of our citizens. 在考虑改革以更好适应当今时代的时候,重要的是要记住,要让改革有效,它们必须达到一个平衡:一方面确保美国仍然是世界上最有吸引力的外国投资目的地之一,另一方面要确保我国公民的安全。 First, the laws that govern how the Cfius process works are clear: Cfius can review a transaction when it could result in foreign control of a US business. When a foreign company or its government could “control” a US company — that’s when the Cfius process can kick in. And control still is important. 首先,规范CFIUS工作流程的法律是明确的:如果一笔交易可能导致美国企业被外国控制,CFIUS就可以审查这笔交易。当一家外国公司或其所在国家的政府可能“控制”一家美国公司的时候,CFIUS就可以启动审查。控制仍然是重要的。 But what the new legislation appropriately recognises is that control is not the only way in which threats to national security can be made real. Something short of control — for example, access through minority stakes to sensitive emerging technologies and know-how — can also put our national security at risk. Moreover, recognising that a single asset — for example, intellectual property with associated know-how — can be the crown jewel of a business, the legislation recognises that its acquisition can present a risk to national security in the same manner as the acquisition of a collection of manufacturing assets. These are areas where Cfius could certainly step up its game. 但是,新的立法正确地认识到,控制已经不是威胁国家安全的唯一途径。有时,即便没有控制——例如,通过少数股权获得敏感的新兴技术和诀窍——也会让我们的国家安全面临风险。此外,仅仅一项资产——例如,知识产权及相关技术诀窍——可能是一家企业的“皇冠上的珍珠”,因此,新的立法认识到,收购一项这样的资产就可能给国家安全带来风险,就像收购一整套制造业资产一样。这些都是CFIUS肯定能够做得更好的领域。 Second, Cfius must maintain its narrow singular focus on national security and have a straightforward process that encourages investment and that makes filing for review easy and accessible. On the first count, Mr Cornyn’s legislation appears to succeed with a clear focus on national security. The legislation does not have any economic tests, nor does it name specific countries. Mandatory reviews in targeted sensitive areas with certain exemptions make sense. 其次,CFIUS必须继续专注于国家安全这个狭窄而单一的焦点,并实行直截了当的流程以鼓励投资,让申请批准轻松便捷。就第一点来说,科宁的立法似乎成功地明确聚焦于国家安全。这项立法没有设置经济测试,也没有点名具体国家。对针对性的几个敏感领域(带有某些豁免)进行强制审查是有道理的。 But the devil is in the detail, and the regulations and implementation will be important. On the second measure, the jury is still out. Repeat filers who are low risk and routinely approved will welcome the possibility of a quicker decision through the new “lite” filing process. 但魔鬼存在于细节当中,监管和执行将至关重要。就第二个衡量标准而言,目前还难以评判。低风险且经常获批的重复申请者将会欢迎新的“简洁版”申报流程,这样他们有可能更快获得审批决定。 But, on the other hand, the traditional review and investigation process will be longer and less predictable both in terms of timing and finality of outcome. A process that now takes 75 days will run to 90 days, with the potential for an additional 30 days under “extraordinary circumstances.” We all know that “time is money” and that is especially true when a $1bn deal hangs in the balance. We need to make sure that with these potential new obstacles and uncertainties, the law does not discourage companies from filing. 但是话说回来,传统的审查和调查过程将会更长,而且在得出结论的时间和结果两方面都更加不可预测。现在75天的流程将增加到90天,在“特殊情况下”还可能再增加30天。我们都知道“时间就是金钱”,当10亿美元的交易悬而未决时,情况更是如此。我们需要确保,带有这些潜在新障碍和不确定性的新法律,不至于让企业放弃申请。 Third, no matter what changes are ultimately made to Cfius by Congress, Cfius needs to be fully equipped to do its job. Right now, the committee’s resources are challenged with a record number of transactions that are increasingly complicated. At the same time, key senior-level policy jobs at Cfius agencies are vacant and the dedicated career staff is at its limit — which slows down important decisions. Getting it right takes time, resources and qualified staff. 第三,无论国会最终对CFIUS作出什么改变,该委员会都需要有充足的资源来履行其职责。目前,该委员会的资源受到日益复杂且数量创纪录的交易的挑战。与此同时,CFIUS各机构的关键高级政策职位空缺,而专职的职业人员也达到极限,这减慢了重要决策的速度。解决这些问题需要时间、资源和合格的员工。 Equally unfortunate, uncertainties and delays are causing some companies that might otherwise undergo the voluntary process to think twice about filing — just what we cannot afford where national security is at issue. As Congress changes the process, it must make sure that Cfius is well-funded to carry out the task. Whether the additional resources budgeted in this legislation are enough to handle Cfius’s new mandate will bear monitoring. 同样令人遗憾的是,不确定因素和拖延导致一些本来会自愿申请的公司踟躇——这是美国在国家安全方面无法承受的。在国会改变流程之际,它必须确保CFIUS有充足的资金来执行任务。这项立法列入预算的额外资源是否足以让CFIUS履行新使命,将是一件值得观察的事情。 In a world where we are facing new national security threats, seeing different structures in corporate deals, and are on the receiving end of an explosion in foreign investment, we do need to re-examine Cfius and update it to reflect the world we live in. But as we do that, we need to make sure that, by intent or by accident, the changes to Cfius do not put up unnecessary new hurdles to foreign investment, deter companies from filing, or undermine the US’s standing as the premier global destination for foreign investment. 当今,我们面临着新的国家安全威胁,公司交易结构千差万别,同时外来投资流入激增。在这样的世界里,我们确实需要重新审查并更新CFIUS,以反映我们所处的世界。但是,我们在这样做的时候需要确保,无论是有意还是无意,CFIUS的改变不会给外国投资带来不必要的新障碍,使企业不敢申请,或者损害美国作为全球首屈一指的外国投资目的地的地位。 As lawmakers consider ways to update Cfius, they not only need to keep our national security in mind, but also need to make sure that the US is still open for business. 当立法者考虑如何更新CFIUS的时候,他们不仅需要牢记我们的国家安全, 而且还需要确保美国仍向商业开放。 Anne Salladin is special counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in Washington DC. She was formerly senior counsel at the US Department of the Treasury, where she provided legal advice to the chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cfius). 本文作者是华盛顿律师事务所Stroock & Stroock & Lavan的特别法律顾问。她曾在美国财政部担任高级法律顾问,其间为CFIUS主席提供法律建议 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20180415/550314.html