US subpoenas Chinese communications firms in probe on national security risks

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Mar 18, 2021, 09:19 AM(IST)

U.S. and Chinese flags are seen before a meeting between senior defence officials from both countries at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 9, 2018 Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp were earlier targetted by the previous administration of Donald Trump for removal from the US telecoms infrastructure.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday that it has served subpoenas on multiple Chinese companies that provide information and communications technology services in the United States to see if they pose a national security risk. It, however, did not name any company.

"Beijing has engaged in conduct that blunts our technological edge and threatens our alliances," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in statement.

The subpoenas will gather information to allow the administration to make a determination for possible action that best protects the security of American companies, American workers, and US national security.

China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp were earlier targetted by the previous administration of Donald Trump for removal from the US telecoms infrastructure.

President Joe Biden's administration said last month it plans to allow a Trump-era rule targetting Chinese technology firms deemed to pose a threat to the United States to go into effect despite objections from US businesses. The Commerce Department issued an interim rule in the final days of the Trump administration aimed at addressing information and communications technology supply chain concerns and said it would become effective after a 60-day period of public comment.

Last month, the department said it would continue to accept public comment on the rule until March 22, when it would go into effect. The subpoenas would not have an impact on the interim final rule's timing, a department official said on Wednesday.

The US Chamber of Commerce and groups representing major industries raised concerns in a letter to the Commerce Department in January that the interim rule gave the government "nearly unlimited authority to intervene in virtually any commercial transaction between US companies and their foreign counterparts that involves technology."

(with inputs from Reuters)

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