ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
US stops deals to state-owned firms
The decision by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was welcomed by Senator Jim Webb, who said it responded to concerns he had raised about US tax dollars funding the expansion of Chinese firms worldwide.
The MCC, created by Congress in January in 2004, helps developing countries reduce levels of poverty as long as they meet performance criteria on the rule of law and democratic principles.
Patrick Fine, the MCC's vice president for compact operations, told AFP the MCC adopted an amendment revising its procurement guidelines to exclude government-owned firms from competing for MCC-funded contracts.
"It became official yesterday," he said, adding the move is designed to ensure a "level playing field" for commercial firms from all countries.
The MCC said it had noticed that a growing number of government-owned commercial enterprises were winning contracts, even though they often compete with support from their home governments.
Webb, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, welcomed the MCC move.
"I commend the MCC's prompt response to the concerns I raised in August, so that US tax dollars will no longer fund Chinese government-owned enterprises," he said in a statement.
"These Chinese government-owned companies are designed to carry out that government's economic and political interests, and I do not believe that the US government should be financing such activity," he added.
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