Noem: Investment review finds limited funds in China

December 22, 2022

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday a recent review of the state’s investment portfolio found the state did not hold any direct investments in China but has stakes in emerging markets funds that invest in the Asian economic power.

The Republican governor has taken aim at China with recent orders. Earlier this month, she gave the state’s Investment Council a week to review its $19 billion portfolio for ties to China, arguing that all companies in the country are tied to its Communist government. In letters released Wednesday, she called on Congress and The Vanguard Group to assist the state’s efforts to divest from China.

In a series of hawkish steps and statements, Noem has sought to define China as a “nation that hates us,” argued the country poses a threat to American food supplies and said in a letter to Congressional leaders that the Chinese government has “infiltrated the homes” of Americans who use TikTok, the popular video-sharing app that is owned by a Chinese company. The governor last month banned the platform from state-owned devices and over a dozen states have followed suit.

Matt Clark, the state’s investment officer, said the state earlier this month sold off about $1.4 million in holdings in the three companies that had headquarters in China. He added that the economy is “global and intertwined” and major companies, such as Apple, often have holdings in China, but the state will not divest from companies like that.

Nome’s office said South Dakota has 1.3% of its portfolio invested in a Vanguard emerging markets exchange-traded fund, which in turn has one-third of its holdings in China. It also has 0.7% of its portfolio in real estate and private equity partnership funds that have Chinese holdings.

Clark said he couldn’t discuss future investment options when asked about those investments.