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Subpoenas Issued to Chinese Companies Under Trump Executive Order, Beijing Retaliates Against Tesla

The U.S. Commerce Department recently served subpoenas to several Chinese companies. They were operating in the country’s information and telecommunications sector for posing national security risks to America.

Subpoenas were issued to comply with the Trump-era Executive Order 13873. It aims to address threats from businesses involved in Information and Communications Technology and Services (ICTS) with ties to foreign adversaries.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo stated that communist China has been engaging in actions that blunt America’s technological edge and threaten alliances. She said that the Biden administration has been clear about the risk posed by unrestricted use of untrusted ICTS. 

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 13: Governor of Rhode Island Gina Raimondo speaks onstage during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit – Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015, in Washington, DC. Raimondo stated that Communist China has been engaging in actions that blunt America’s technological edge and threaten alliances. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)

Through the subpoenas, the department wants to collect information that will help protect the nation’s interests and American workers. Raimondo expressed hope that the companies would fully cooperate with the department to complete a thorough review.

“Trusted information and communications technology and services are essential to our national and economic security and remain a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration. The Administration is firmly committed to taking a whole-of-government approach to ensure that untrusted companies cannot misappropriate and misuse data and ensuring that U.S. technology does not support China’s or other actors’ malign activities.” Raimondo said in a statement.

In the last days of the Trump administration, the Commerce Department issued an interim rule that sought to address concerns regarding the information and communications industry’s supply chains. The rule implements Executive Order 13873 was put up for public comment for 60 days until March 22, when it will come into effect. An official from the department stated that the subpoenas wouldn’t affect the timing of the interim final rule.

In January, the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs from major companies, had complained to the Commerce Department that the rule is “unworkable” for American businesses and must not be implemented without making significant changes. 

The policy could require millions of American businesses to secure government clearance when conducting deals involving sophisticated technologies with an entity classified as a “foreign adversary,” failing which the deal may be blocked.

Spokesman asserts that Communist China will protect Chinese Companies’ rights

Given the opposition shown by the business community, administration officials have indicated that they might not enforce the rule too strictly. Communist China has reacted strongly to the U.S. subpoenas. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Washington of “overstretching” the concept of national security to politicize economic issues. He affirmed that communist China would take all measures to protect Chinese companies‘ rights and interests.

Banning Tesla

While the U.S. cracks down on Chinese businesses, Beijing has used the same reason to suppress American businesses in communist China. The communist regime has ordered the government and military personnel not to use Tesla vehicles, calling the company’s data collection a potential security risk. 

The instruction came after a security review. It concluded that the vehicles could record footage via exterior cameras and then send it to the United States. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has dismissed such concerns.

“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information… If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down,” Musk told a prominent Chinese forum during a virtual discussion.

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  • Prakash Gogoi: Die-hard anime fan, would watch movies all day long if possible, any genre. The most prized investment ever made in the house is the theater room. If Prakash is not writing, he'll be in there.

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