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Sovereign Funds, Treasury Agree On Principles

Two of the largest sovereign wealth funds agreed on basic principles to govern foreign government-backed investment in U.S. companies. 

Representatives from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation met with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt to develop voluntary codes of conduct for both funds and the countries receiving investments.

“The United States is very open to investment and we’re open to sovereign wealth fund investment,” Clay Lowery, Assistant Treasury Secretary for International Affairs, told reporters. “We do welcome this investment and we think that it can be good for our economy.”

Over the past weeks, Congress has launched a series of inquiries into the funds, holding hearings and meeting with fund managers. 

Over the past 11 months, the funds have infused about $69 billion into financial institutions sapped by the subprime mortgage crisis.

The rules seek to quell national security concerns about the funds, dictating that their investment must be based “solely on commercial grounds.” The code also urged the funds to disclose more information about their objectives, institutional arrangements and financial information.

Domestically, the administration also hopes to stem a current of economic protectionism on issues like trade and foreign investment. Recipient countries must not discriminate between investors and should “ensure predictable investment frameworks,” according to the new code.
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