US export limits target 28 Chinese entities, citing alleged links to Iranian military

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday targeted more than two dozen Chinese entities with export restrictions, part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to mitigate what it says is a threat growing for China’s national security.

Adding the 28 Chinese companies and individuals to its entity list, the Bureau of Industry and Commerce Security said the companies posed a range of potential national security risks, including through alleged connections. with an Iranian electronics firm previously sanctioned by the United States for its alleged ties to Tehran. military.

The lists are designed to prevent U.S. goods from being used by entities that Washington considers a potential threat to Western interests.

The move comes amid growing diplomatic tensions between the world’s two largest economies. China’s relationship with Western enemies Russia and Iran and the recent discovery of China’s suspected surveillance balloon program fuel calls for the Biden administration to exercise its sanctioning authority more forcefully. and tightens restrictions on trade and investment between the two powers.

The United States wants to counter China’s influence in the world by providing everything from infrastructure to vaccines and green energy. The WSJ’s Stu Woo explains how the plan, dubbed Build Back Better World, aims to compete with China’s Belt and Road initiative. Photo composition: Daniel Orton

Unlike Treasury sanctions, which prohibit commercial and financial transactions with sanctions targets, Commerce Entity Lists restrict sales to targeted companies unless exporters obtain a license from the US government. As such, they are often viewed by analysts and industry officials as a more lenient punitive measure than sanctions.

Other security threats cited by Commerce include alleged contributions to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program and the supply of surveillance equipment to Myanmar’s sanctioned military, which has been accused of widespread human rights abuses.

Among the entities added to the entity list were subsidiaries of Chinese genetics company BGI, cloud computing company Inspur Group, air cargo company AIF Global Logistics Co. and several electronics companies.

The companies and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Beijing officials have repeatedly denounced US sanctions as illegal.

The administration has recently come under fire from some lawmakers and former officials for its handling of prohibited trade and financial flows through China, including evidence that Chinese government-owned or government-controlled companies deal directly with sanctioned Russian defense firms. . Russian trade data shows that China is the main channel for many prohibited exports that the United States says the Russian military needs to run its war machine.

The Biden administration has imposed sanctions on many Chinese companies and individuals, but some lawmakers say it hasn’t hit Beijing hard enough with additional action.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took aim Tuesday at the Commerce Department’s decision to approve billions of dollars worth of goods sold to Chinese companies identified by the U.S. government as potential nationals. security risks. Tech industry officials say most of those sales aren’t the most advanced technology.

“It’s absolutely staggering (the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security) has approved over $23 billion in licenses to sell US technology to blacklisted China-based companies,” McCaul told senior administration officials testifying before the committee.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have repeatedly warned in recent days that China will face “real costs” if it steps up support for Russia, vowing to tackle national security risks stemming from the trade.

China’s challenge “to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests is real,” Alan Estevez, Commerce’s undersecretary for industry and security, told the House committee. He said his priority “is to make sure we do everything right…to keep sensitive American technology out of the hands of the military, intelligence agencies, security agencies, or government agencies.” ‘other parties’ in China.

While Beijing is reportedly considering providing what US officials say is deadly aid to Russia to support its war effort in Ukraine, some industry officials and analysts say the administration appears to be holding back from imposing sanctions. more aggressive so as not to provoke China.

“But Washington shouldn’t wait for Beijing to send deadly aid before acting,” said John Hardie, deputy director of the Russia program at the Washington-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Many Chinese companies have engaged in sanctionable activities providing other kinds of support to the Russian war machine, but the Treasury has designated only a fraction of them,” he said. “That should change.”

Write to Ian Talley at

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