Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to crack down on “undue influence from rogue states” like China in response to Chinese businesses reportedly buying up large tracts of farmland.
DeSantis was asked about a recent report by the National Association of Realtors which found that Chinese real estate investors spent $6.1 billion on American real estate over a 12-month period that ended in March — more than any other group of foreigners.
Florida accounted for 24% of all international real estate purchases in the US while California ranked second (11%).
DeSantis told Laura Ingraham of Fox News on Friday that he didn’t think business interest with alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party should be allowed to buy up American real estate assets.
“I don’t think they should be able to do it,” DeSantis said.
“I think the problem is these companies have ties to the CCP, and it’s not always apparent on the face of whatever a company is doing — but I think it’s a huge problem.”
Businessmen from the mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have reportedly been aggressive in purchasing existing homes in places like Florida and California.
In 2019, the US Department of Agriculture said that Chinese-linked entities owned at least 192,000 acres of farmland worth more than $1.9 billion.
Florida was the state that attracted the heaviest volume of real estate purchases, according to figures provided by the NAR. It was the 14th consecutive year that foreign investors expressed the most interest in Sunshine State properties.
DeSantis said that he plans to sign legislation that would limit the extent to which Chinese firms can invest in Florida pension funds.
“We don’t necessarily have a lot of it, but we want to make sure that we’re cutting ties so that we’re not funding our number-one adversary,” the Republican governor said.
GOP senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Kevin Kramer of North Dakota wrote a letter to the Biden administration earlier this month demanding that officials review a Chinese company’s purchase of North Dakota farmland just several miles from a sensitive military base.
Fufeng Group, a Shandong, China-based company that specializes in flavor enhancers and sugar substitutes, recently purchased 300 acres of farmland near Grand Forks, North Dakota, a rural area that lies about a 90-minute drive from the Canadian border.
The location of the farmland, which is just down the road from a US Air Force base that houses sensitive drone technology, has lawmakers on Capitol Hill worried about potential espionage by Beijing.
Three North Dakotans sold the land to Fufeng Group for $2.6 million, according to CNBC.