Biden expands Trump’s ban on US investment in certain Chinese companies
© WikiMedia (The White House)
Biden expands Trump’s ban on US investment in certain Chinese companies

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order Thursday expanding a Trump-era ban on investments into a collection of Chinese companies allegedly tied with China’s military.

Last November then-president Donald Trump issued an executive order forbidding US investors from conducting “any transaction in publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any Communist Chinese military company.” The order claimed that the Chinese government “exploits United States investors to finance the development and modernization of its military” through investments made into the 31 companies subject to the ban. Trump amended the November order in January

In Thursday’s executive order, Biden expanded the ban to include 59 companies that “directly threaten” US national security. Biden stated his reasoning for expanding the ban:

[A]dditional steps are necessary to address the national emergency … posed by the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its involvement in military, intelligence, and security research and development programs, and weapons and related equipment production under the PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy. … 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, which have their source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

Biden reemphasized these points in a letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and in a fact sheet accompanying the order.

Among the 59 companies subject to the investment ban are Huawei and Hikvision, smartphone companies that manufacture and supply video surveillance equipment. China Mobile, China Telecommunications and China Unicom, three of China’s largest telecommunications companies, are also included in the order.

During a press conference Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated that “China is firmly opposed” to the US government’s broad use of “the catch-all concept of national security” as a way to “wantonly suppress and restrict Chinese enterprises in all possible means.” Wang declared China’s intention to “take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”

Biden’s new order takes effect on August 2.