By Russ Niles
March 26, 2011
A freshman Minnesota congressman is urging the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to use “extreme caution” in assessing the potential sale of Cirrus Industries to the Chinese state-owned China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Chip Cravaack, who represents the 8th District in Minnesota, which includes Cirrus’s home of Duluth, says he’s afraid the Chinese will use technology developed by Cirrus for military purposes. “I’m very concerned with Chinese history of reverse engineering,” Cravaack told the Northland’s NewsCenter. “What they do is take our components and are able use them as dual tech for their military aircraft. We do not need to be sending our technology overseas.” Cravaack might be expected to urge caution about the potential loss of jobs in his district but the rookie congressman’s military background adds some interest to his pleas before the committee.
Cravaack is a Naval Academy grad who flew helicopters in the Navy and flew for Northwest Airlines. He retired from Northwest on a medical disability pension because of sleep apnea. Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons told the TV station he was surprised by the congressman’s statement to the committee. “The CAIGA transaction is an investment in Duluth and our local communities.”