The United States added dozens of Chinese companies to a trade blacklist, President Donald Trump’s administration announced Friday.
The move is only Trump’s most recent executive action as he seeks pursues a flurry of issues before President-Elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. The blacklist additions specifically included China’s top computer chip maker, SMIC, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, AGCU Scientech and Kuang-Chi Group for enabling human rights violations by the Chinese government.
The blacklist means that American companies seeking to sell products to SMIC or other firms on the list must firs apply for a specific license to do so. In total, Friday’s announcement added 77 companies and groups, including the four previously mentioned, to Commerce’s “Entities List” for a range of actions that endangered U.S. interests and national security, ranging from “militarization and unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea” to the “theft of U.S. trade secrets.”
“We will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a Friday statement. “Between SMIC’s relationships of concern with the military industrial complex, China’s aggressive application of military civil fusion mandates and state-directed subsidies, SMIC perfectly illustrates the risks of China’s leverage of U.S. technology to support its military modernization.” (RELATED: Josh Hawley Introduces A Bill Cracking Down On Big Tech Exports To China)
“The Chinese Communist Party’s malign activity at home and abroad harms U.S. interests and undermines the sovereignty of our allies and partners,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement coinciding with the announcement. “The United States will use all countermeasures available, including actions to prevent People’s Republic of China (PRC) companies and institutions from exploiting U.S. goods and technologies for malign purposes. Today’s actions mark yet another sign of our resolve.” (RELATED: ‘Uighur Alarms’ Just The Latest In Long List Of China’s Worst Human Rights Abuses)
Trump sought to combat China’s growth on the world stage since the earliest days of his administration. Those efforts ramped up in 2019 and 2020, however, after the Chinese Communist Party ended democracy in Hong Kong and allowed the coronavirus to spread beyond its borders, becoming a pandemic that ravaged the globe.
Trump has imposed escalating tariffs on Chinese goods since 2018, but the United Nations declared his latest round illegal in September. Trump sought to block tomato and cotton imports from the Xinjiang region of China, where the CCP uses Uighur slave labor to harvest the products.
The persecution of Uighur Muslims in the region has been described as “genocide.”
With regard to COVID-19, the U.S. and other global leaders have concluded China falsified its data on cases and deaths in Wuhan and the rest of the country. Trump has also emphasized China’s decision to ban travel out of Wuhan to the rest of China but allowing travel out of Wuhan to the rest of the world in the early days of the pandemic.
Christian Datoc contributed to this report.