In guidance documents issued in February 2012, NASA noted that appropriation bills for the past two years (NASA’s 2011 continuing resolution and NASA’s fiscal year 2012 appropriation) contain a funding restriction with respect to China. Specifically, the funding statute states that none of the funds appropriated may be used by NASA to:
- develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate, bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized [by law.]
Although the statute does not define “China” or “Chinese-owned company,” NASA’s procurement guidance states that the terms mean the People’s Republic of China, any company owned by the People’s Republic of China, or any company incorporated under the laws of the People’s Republic of China.
The statute applies to any NASA grant, cooperative agreement, or contract and applies to all subrecipients at any level. Therefore, the restriction prohibits UConn from collaborating with or issuing a subaward to the Chinese government (e.g., the China National Space Administration), a government-owned company, or a company incorporated under Chinese law. This includes using NASA funds for the U.S. side of a collaboration with these entities that is performed on a “no-exchange-of-funds” basis. The restrictions do not apply to commercial items of supply needed to perform a grant or cooperative agreement.
The appropriations law does not restrict the use of NASA funds to support Chinese national students or visiting researchers as long as they do not have a current affiliation with a Chinese university. NASA grants guidance document states participation by Chinese nationals will be reviewed by NASA grant and technical officers prior to awarding grants or cooperative agreements (including amendments).
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