TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would prevent Chinese interests from buying residential subdivisions in that state. Chinese investments in farmland near military bases made headlines last year. According to DeSantis their focus is now trained on residential subdivisions under development in Florida and elsewhere.
“They [Chinese investment and holding companies] have been active throughout the western hemisphere gobbling up land and investing in different things,” DeSantis said during a Jan. 10 press event in Bonita Springs, Fla. “That is not in the best interest of Florida to have the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owning farm land close to military bases, but why would you want them buying residential developments?”
DeSantis made the statements after commenting on the prevalence of Chinese-made toys that his children got for Christmas.
“The thing is that all this stuff is made in China – it breaks, it’s cheap stuff and I’m that [consumers] get it from China ’cause it’s cheaper to (buy), but if it doesn’t even last a week, what difference does it make?” he asked. “Santa Claus may not need to do Chinese toys – make it here, make it anywhere but not (in) China.”
In 2021, lawmakers and DeSantis signed a pair of bills aimed at foreign investment in the state.
HB 7017 stiffens requirements for entities seeking tax-payer funded grants or contracts from state agencies or political subdivisions and prohibits specific agreements between state/public entities and Russia, China (CCP), Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.
Under HB 1523, the Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act, anyone who willfully and without authorization steals or attempts to steal a trade secret and use it for their own benefit could face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Those attempting to sell stolen trade secrets will face a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
DeSsantis promised that more similar legislation would be under consideration by the lawmakers this year.