June 5, 2018 / 7:41 PM / in 5 months

UPDATE 1-Republican senators, president to discuss anti-China measure at White House

(Adds detail on possible vote on the legislation)

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) - Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump will meet at the White House on Tuesday to discuss a measure before Congress aimed at tightening investment rules to better protect national security, Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters on Tuesday.

Cornyn has spearheaded efforts in Congress to win passage of a bill to tighten oversight by the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. The measure, which is aimed at keeping China from acquiring high-end U.S. technology, has been put into a must-pass defense policy bill called the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA.

“This is not a trade issue. This is a national security issue,” Cornyn told reporters. “It is directed at the most egregious offender of this process, which is China, and I believe it’s something that’s very important in our national security.”

The White House said in a statement in January that it supported Cornyn’s measure.

Cornyn said he would be accompanied at the meeting by fellow Republican Senators David Perdue, Tim Scott and Michael Crapo.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the chamber would “soon” focus on the NDAA and will be debating it “in coming days.”

In the House of Representatives, the bill was not put in its version of the NDAA but is awaiting action by the House.

The CFIUS measures are among a series of measures being considered by the White House and Congress to address what it sees as China’s unfair trade and market access practices. Others include potential tariffs on goods ranging from aluminum to automobiles, and efforts to prevent the growth in the United States of Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp. (Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; writing by Diane Bartz editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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