US expands investment ban to include China’s BGI Genomics, DJI’s drone maker

US expands investment ban to include China’s BGI Genomics, DJI’s drone maker


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense has added more Chinese companies, including drone maker DJI Technology and surveillance equipment maker Zhejiang Dahua Technology, to a blacklist exposing it to an investment ban on Americans.

BGI Genomics Co Ltd, which operates a massive genetic data bank and has contracts to sequence DNA worldwide, and CRRC, which manufactures and sells rail transportation equipment, were also among 13 companies added to the list released by the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Last year, a Reuters review of scientific papers and company data found that BGI was using prenatal tests developed in collaboration with the Chinese military to collect genetic data for comprehensive research on population traits.

“The Department is determined to showcase and counter the People’s Republic of China’s military-civilian integration strategy,” the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

She added that this strategy supports the modernization goals of the Chinese army by ensuring it has access to advanced technologies and experiences gained and developed by Chinese companies, universities and research programs “that appear to be civilian entities.”

The list prohibits the purchase or sale of securities traded in the target companies.

An initial tranche of about 50 Chinese companies including telecom equipment maker Huawei was added to the US list in June last year.

At the time, President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning US investment in dozens of Chinese companies allegedly with links to the defense technology or surveillance sectors.

The order is intended to prevent US investment from supporting China’s military-industrial complex, as well as its military, intelligence and security research and development programmes.

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It was part of Biden’s efforts to counter China, such as bolstering US alliances and pursuing significant domestic investment to boost US economic competitiveness, as relations between the world’s two largest economies soured.

The Chinese drone manufacturer said in a statement that there was “no reason” to add it to the blacklist.

“DJI stands alone as the only drone company that clearly condemns and strongly discourages the military use of our products,” she said, adding that it was not a military company in China, the United States, or anywhere else.

“DJI has never designed or manufactured military-grade equipment, and has never marketed or sold its products for military use in any country,” the company said.

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