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“First of all, one of the things that the Chinese state-owned enterprises have been able to do is go in as investors and buy these companies and get ahold of them when they are in distressed,” Rubio told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria” in response to calling on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to review the purchase of GNC by Chinese-owned Harbin Pharmaceuticals.
“Now people would say who cares about a vitamin company GNC. It’s not their intellectual property in that case. It’s about data. GNC holds data on millions of Americans that have been their customers,” Rubio added.
“If anyone has ever gone to a GNC, you know, you get this account, they take down your phone number, they take down your purchase history, your information, your payment history,” Rubio explained.
Meanwhile, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said yesterday that there's a growing concern among U.S. companies in China that trade tensions between the two economic superpowers will last for years.
More than a quarter (26.9%) of the 346 respondents to AmCham’s annual survey said they believe U.S.-China trade tensions will last indefinitely, up from 16.9% last year, the group said Wednesday. Another 22.5% believe the trade skirmish will last another three to five years, versus 12.7% in 2019.
Nearly 71% of respondents believe U.S.-China trade tensions will be the biggest challenge over the next three to five years.
President Trump has in recent months called on the U.S. to “decouple” from China after lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 disrupted supply chains and stoked fears that the U.S. has become too reliant on Beijing for the production of goods and key technologies.
Rubio said “personal data is probably the most valuable commodity in the world today.”
“Everything is going to be built on big data from intelligence, national security, the way we sell commercial products, the delivery of precision medicine and to just turn that over to a country like China that has a clear not just mercantilist economic policy but a predatory one in which they seek not only to take over the United States but to be the dominant geopolitical and economic power in the world is a self-inflicted wound,” Rubio said.
Rubio went on to say the GNC sale "needs to be reviewed" because the data of millions of Americans is "going to belong to the Chinese government."
FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.