Following a previous Trump executive order that banned some Chinese companies from buying U.S.-made tech, this week U.S. President Joe Biden issued a new executive order banning U.S. entities from investing in 59 different Chinese tech and defence companies.
In a statement published by the White House, the Biden administration says the new executive order is designed to further address the ongoing “threat posed by the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” The White House claims that the continued development of Chinese tech (particularly surveillance tech) and the deployment of said tech in countries outside of China poses a risk to national security while also facilitating the repression or abuse of human rights.
So in order to further limit the growth of Chinese defence and surveillance tech, Biden’s new executive order will amend E.O. 13959 by prohibiting U.S. citizens or companies from investing in or “engaging in the purchase or sale” of any of the 59 companies specifically mentioned in the new executive order.
The 59 companies (which can be seen here at the bottom of the E.O.) is generally comprised of various Chinese defence, aviation, surveillance, and tech companies that are believed to support the Chinese military-industrial complex, with potential new additions to the list said to be updated on a “rolling basis.”
Notably, despite already being subject to a ban that prohibits it from buying U.S.-made tech, Huawei makes another appearance on Biden’s new executive order, alongside other influential Chinese tech companies such as China Mobile Communications Group, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, and others.
In addition to making it more difficult for U.S. companies to invest in and work with Chinese tech firms, Reuters says officials in the Biden Administration claim the new E.O. is also meant to reign in some of the language from the previous E.O which was “carelessly drafted,” potentially leaving the E.O. open to being challenged in court.
This latest E.O. comes amidst an ongoing process from Biden as he reviews a number of previous policies regarding China set in place by the Trump administration, as Biden attempts to boost the reach of U.S. tech while keeping China at arm’s length.
Naturally, the Chinese government isn’t happy about the latest E.O., with a spokesperson from the Chinese foreign ministry telling Reuters “The U.S. government is stretching the concept of national security, abusing national power and using every possible means to suppress and restrict Chinese enterprises.”
So despite a new administration taking control of the White House, it seems like the U.S. will continue to distance itself from China and Chinese tech as the rift between the U.S. and China continues to grow.