ALEC Passes Model Policy to Restrict State Contracts with Chinese Government-Owned Tech Companies

China Tech Threat co-Founder Dr. Roslyn Layton served as an expert advisor at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta this week, explaining to state lawmakers China’s strategy to infiltrate state governments through the purchase of risky technology embedded in state level networks.  

Conference members considered and approved a model policy introduced by Georgia State Representative Martin Momtahan to help states restrict the purchase of risky technology. The model is based on a bill Rep. Momtahan led in Georgia and Governor Brian Kemp signed into law in May 2022. During his presentation, Rep. Momtahan emphasized China’s escalating strategy to target state lawmakers as part of its influence campaign.

Legislators unanimously approved the legislation in both the International Relations and Commerce Committees. The final step is for the model policy to be approved by the ALEC Board.

CTT previously released research revealing that 40 of 50 states have contracts with restricted Chinese government vendors, and recently issued a memo to state policy leaders that detailed four policies to counter China tech threats, including restricting Chinese government owned or operated companies from providing tech products to state governments, universities and local school districts.  

Countering China was a major theme at the event, with speakers from leading think tanks and universities describing research projects of parsing the People’s Daily, China’s leading government newspaper, for policy changes; how Chinese enterprises arbitrage environment, social, and corporate governance policy (for example pension funds are pressured to divest US energy companies while Chinese ones remain); how states can counter malign Chinese influence; the security of Taiwan; the impact of Russian sanctions vis-à-vis China; and the security impacts of America’s lost leadership in the rare earth minerals industries.    

Other model legislation included the State Infrastructure Protection Act which prohibits purchase of critical infrastructure like electric grid and water systems by Chinese, Russian, North Korea, or Iranian government affiliated actors; various bills promoting Taiwan for inclusion in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, greater trade, and friendship; and strengthening intellectual property protections in trade.