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May 27, 2017

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Chinese wind farm firm says US rejection deters investment

BEIJING -- The Chinese company suing President Barack Obama for blocking its planned wind farm projects in Oregon accused the U.S. leader and his government of discrimination Thursday and warned that the case would deter Chinese investment in the United States.

Last month, Obama blocked Ralls Corp.'s plan to build four wind farms near a U.S. Navy base, after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States concluded it posed security risks. It was the first time a U.S. president stepped in to halt such a foreign business deal for national security reasons since 1990, when President George H.W. Bush scuttled the sale of a manufacturer to a Chinese agency.

Company bosses denied that the project posed security risks, said U.S. officials were discriminating against the firm because it was Chinese and filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government last month, adding Obama's name as a defendant earlier this month. U.S. officials have said the case has no merit and that they will "vigorously" defend against it.

Ralls Corp. CEO Wu Jialiang said at a Beijing news conference Thursday that his company "would never do anything that threatens U.S. national security."

Ralls is an associated enterprise of Sany Group, the largest construction machinery manufacturer in China. Sany said that Ralls purchased the Butter Creek wind farm project from a Greek electricity grid company with the development already approved and permits in hand.

Xiang Wenbo, a Sany director, said the company had agreed to transfer, relocate or remove the wind turbines after objections were raised, but they hadn't been allowed to. He said U.S. authorities had reached unfair conclusions, seized their property and assets and aren't to be reasoned with, likening their behavior to that of "thugs."

The case has handed Obama the opportunity to appear tough on Chinese interests during an U.S. election campaign in which both the president and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have invoked China as a villain in their arguments about revitalizing the U.S. economy. Both have accused the other of policies that send jobs to China.

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