Trump pressured to change Chinese pension investments


21 Apr, 2020

Trump pressured to change Chinese pension investments

U.S. President Donald Trump is being pressured by lawmakers and former officials to stop plans to invest billions of federal employee retirement dollars in Chinese firms.

Reuters reports pointed out that that the Chinese companies that the Trump administration is looking to invest its pension investments in are accounted for human rights abuses or threatening U.S. security.

Former White House official in the Ronald Reagan administration, Roger Robinson asked, “Are we very soon going to witness... federal employees ... being, in effect, unwittingly compelled to fund with their retirement dollars a number of Beijing's most egregious corporate national security and human rights abusers?"

The mentioned retirement savings fund is the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which is very similar to a 401(k) for federal employees and members of the military.

One of the businesses in the index is Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, which was blacklisted by Trump last year due to its technology. Moreover, telecoms equipment company ZTE is also mentioned and previously went against U.S. sanctions as well.

Spokeswoman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) Kim Weaver explained that similar boards are looking to make investments that who boost pension funds and ones that would be a lagging outlier amongst retirement savings plans".

Amongst those pressing the Trump administration are Republican congressmen Mike Gallagher and Jim Banks, who wrote to Department of Labour Secretary Eugene Scalia.

"I urge you to do everything in your power to reverse the TSP Board's decision," the letter said.

A memo from March 7th showed that by leaving things unchanged, Trump would be risking to see "federal employees being compelled to invest in Chinese and Russian companies that have undisclosed material risks due to their roles in threatening our national security and abusing human rights."