The Biden administration has put yet more pressure on the Chinese technology industry in America by adding more companies to a Commerce Department blacklist.
Seven additional Chinese businesses that all have ties to the military were added to the so-called Entity List on Thursday, meaning US firms will face restrictions dealing with the companies.
The Commerce Department said all seven of the listed companies operated in the field of supercomputing and claimed that they had each either helped the Chinese government modernize its military or have worked on the development of weapons of mass destruction programs.
“Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many — perhaps almost all — modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a statement. “The Department of Commerce will use the full extent of its authorities to prevent China from leveraging US technologies to support these destabilizing military modernization efforts.
“With respect to tariffs, there is a place for tariffs. The 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have in fact helped save American jobs in the steel and aluminum industries,” she continued.
“So what do we do with tariffs? We have to level the playing field. No one can out-compete the American worker if the playing field is level. And the fact is China’s actions are uncompetitive, coercive, underhanded. They’ve proven they’ll do whatever it takes. And so I plan to use all the tools in my toolbox as aggressively as possible to protect American workers and businesses from unfair Chinese practices.”
The newly blacklisted companies include Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center and Sunway Microelectronics, as well as four National Supercomputing Centers in Jinan, Shenzhen, Wuxi and Zhengzhou.
While the Commerce Department’s Entity List has existed for a number of years, it was the Trump administration that began adding Chinese businesses to it at a far greater pace, beginning with well-known companies such as Huawei, the global telecommunications firm.
Officials inside the Biden administration have already revealed that it is reviewing many of the Commerce Department’s policies that were brought forward during Trump’s presidency. It seems so far that the department is continuing its confrontational approach toward China and its businesses.
President Biden’s extensive infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Plan, highlights the strategic threat supposedly offered by China, describing it as a main competitor in both technology and research and development.
“At its core, the American Jobs Plan is about making sure every American has the opportunity to get a decent job. A decent, well-paying job with dignity and has opportunity,” Raimondo said alongside Press Secretary Jen Psaki at government’s daily press conference.
“It’s a historic investment in America intended to create tens of millions of jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China. Many have commented that it’s large, it’s bold, it’s necessarily large because frankly we’re behind and we’ve neglected for too long important investments in our infrastructure.
“We need to ensure that investments in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, workforce development, and our care economy are made, are made at the scale we need, and are made in every single community in America and as the president has led us to … Is leading us to build back better, that means we need to do so more inclusively and ensure that these investments that we are making in broadband, in housing, in the care economy, in water, are in every community in America, rural, tribal, urban, communities of color, and reaching everyone across America.
“Over the years, there is something that we all seem to agree on, which is that we need to make massive investments in our infrastructure if we are going to compete and ensure America’s global competitiveness,” the Commerce Secretary continued during the press conference.
“Most recently I have spent a lot of time in the past few weeks talking to business leaders and I can report to you that there is a broad level of enthusiasm for big investments in infrastructure and I think there is a recognition that President Biden is doing the right thing in pushing us to conceive of infrastructure as broad, as including investments in STEM, research and development, investments in basic research, investments in broadband, investments in training our workforce and the truth of it is, that’s what it’s going to take to compete.
“A key component of the American Jobs Plan is training our workforce. This is a reality. The changes in the American economy, many of which have been massively accelerated by COVID, are very scary for millions of Americans. It’s a scary place to be to need a job and not have the skills to get a good job. And so that’s why this package calls for big investments in training our workforce.”