February 27, 2006
The Dubai Deal Compromise
The firestorm over the acquisition by Dubai Ports World of a London based port terminal operator that controls terminals at six American ports has entered another phase. The Dubai company has agreed to delay closing the acquisition until CFIUS has conducted a 45 day "formal investigation." CFIUS reports a recommendation to the President, who, under Exon-Florio, decides whether to go along and reports his decision to Congress. Absent significant new data, CFIUS is likely to report to the President that he need not block the deal and the President will agree. The ball will then be squarely in Congress's court. Many hope the that delay and new report with help defuse the situation. Several members of Congress have discovered, after jumping on the public outcry created by the deal, that blocking this deal on raw protectionism will generate a myriad of problems. At issue now is whether the public protest, once started, will be alleviated by a procedural, political face saving solution. Can the genie be put back in the bottle?
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