Bush Approves Dubai Firm's U.S. Plant Operations

As Reported by the Associated Press

President Bush on Friday approved a deal for a Dubai-owned company to take control of some U.S. plants that manufacture parts for American military contractors.

The proposed deal, Bush said at a news conference, ''has been looked at very carefully.'' He said he had ''signed off on it this morning because I am convinced at the recommendation of the CFIUS committee as well as our military that it is a sale that should go through.''

CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, is charged with reviewing foreign transactions that touch on military or security matters.

Initial reactions from Congress indicated that there would not be the opposition to the deal that prevented another Dubai-based company from taking over operations of several U.S. ports.

''This investigation was a significant improvement over what happened before,'' House Homeland Security Chairman Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said in a statement. ''It's been much more thorough, much more detailed.''

''This was a transaction that was thoroughly reviewed and closely scrutinized,'' White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in confirming the deal. ''In the view of the committee, it does not compromise our national security.''

As a condition of the president's approval, the company signed an agreement that promised an uninterrupted supply, McClellan said. The White House was in the process of informing key members of Congress of the president's decision.

House leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said lawmakers from both parties on the relevant committees had been briefed on the deal, and had agreed that necessary safeguards were in effect. They said there had been numerous contacts with the administration.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a leading opponent of the port deal, also said he did not plan to oppose the transaction. ''There are two differences between this deal and the Dubai Ports deal,'' he said in a statement. ''First, this went through the process in a careful, thoughtful way; and second this is a product not a service and the opportunity to infiltrate and sabotage is both more difficult and more detectable.''

CFIUS began its review of the transaction on Jan. 28 and made its recommendation to Bush on April 13. He had 15 days to make a decision, a time frame that expired Friday.

The decision follows a political uproar earlier this year after Bush backed a deal allowing another Dubai-owned company to operate several major U.S. port terminals. The company, DP World, decided to sell the U.S. operations that it acquired in its purchase of a British firm to an American firm after Republicans and Democrats in Congress balked, saying the transaction could compromise America's security interests.

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