Legislation to protect American companies abroad introduced in Congress

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) introduced legislation to protect American companies operating abroad.

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The legislation, Defending American Property Abroad Act, would be aimed at countries in the Western Hemisphere who have threatened the property rights of American companies. Pfluger cited the Mexican government as an example and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s plan to seize control of a quarry and port owned by Vulcan Materials Co. Pfluger said such plans pose a direct threat to American economic interests.

“American companies operating abroad should not have to fear arbitrary government actions that undermine their property rights,” Pfluger said. “The Defending American Property Abroad Act will ensure that such actions do not go unchecked and that American businesses are protected from unjust expropriation. The protection of American property rights abroad is essential for fostering economic growth and maintaining our national security.”

The bill includes provision that would prohibit trade partners in the Western Hemisphere from engaging in activities, like docking vessels or importing goods, if they have expropriated or otherwise seized property owned by American entities; requiring the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to provide reports to Congress on enforcement efforts; and mandating reports from various agencies on the economic and national security implications of actions taken by foreign trade partners.

The legislation is supported by U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Al), Jerry Carl (R-AL), Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Barry Moore (R-AL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Gary J. Palmer (R-AL), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX).