Feds OK Emirati company lease of port (Xerxes Wilson)
Enthusiastic approval of this proposed port deal by state officials and the General Assembly was reported on 4/26/18.
At the time, the proposal was still subject to federal approvals. Now said approvals have reportedly been secured, leaving ratification of the “final terms” by the Diamond State Port Corp., the port’s quasi-public operating board, as the only remaining formality. This would be Gulftainer’s second US port; the UAE company (which is a subsidiary of the Crescent Enterprises, a privately held UAE conglomerate) opened a container facility in Canaveral, Florida in 2015. Gulftainer also has ports in UAE, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
The interagency body responsible for the federal review was the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which among other things is supposed to consider any national security concerns. Earlier this week, however, a Treasury Department official (Thomas Feddo) reportedly informed an attorney representing the state that “the deal is not covered under the Defense Protection Act [that] gives the president authority to review certain transactions involving foreign entities.” According to DE Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, having numerous federal agencies review the deal and declare no further review is necessary was the “best response we could have received” and clears the way for finalization.
Appearing with Judge Jeanine Pirro on Fox News (9:00 PM, 6/30/18), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) raised serious questions about the wisdom of this deal. Among other things, he asserted, shipping containers containing cruise missiles and warheads could be brought in at the Wilmington port and with Gulftainer running the port there would be no way to prevent it. He added that the Defense Department had been cut out of the CFIUS review based on a legal “loophole,” and that he planned to press for congressional action to require a comprehensive review of national security considerations.