The Biden administration has expanded the restrictions on Chinese firms involved in mass surveillance activities through its network equipment. The sanction imposed during the Trump era has been extended to other major tech, space, and telecom companies, apart from the initially listed in the initial executive order, with more to come by the order of the Treasury.
Biden signed an executive order Thursday that prohibits Americans from owning or trading any securities tied to 59 companies, citing the threat of Chinese surveillance technology. “I find that the use of Chinese surveillance technology outside the PRC and the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse constitute unusual and extraordinary threats,” said President Biden in the order.
The new order also refines these orders, particularly for the companies collaborating with Chinese authorities in domestic surveillance of Uygur Muslims in China and political unrest in Hong Kong. The new list of companies includes many others, including Huawei and ZTE. Apart from telecom firms, the sanctions could be extended to any company in the tech, communication, or aerospace industry. Direct investment in the prohibited companies is also not allowed.
The Treasury has been given the responsibility of maintaining and updating the list of the restricted companies involved in surveillance activity. The Biden administration has made it clear that it is committed to national security and will continue to update the companies list in the future. Clearly, the Biden administration is not letting go of the trade war started by the Trump administration.