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China’s BGI, Inspur added to US trade blacklist


Mar 5, 2023

The administration of US President Joe Biden has added 37 companies to a trade blacklist. These companies include parts of the Chinese genetics company BGI and the Chinese cloud computing company Inspur. This move is expected to ratchet up tensions with Beijing even more.

BGI Research and BGI Tech Solutions (Hongkong) were added to the list by the US Department of Commerce, which is in charge of export controls. There are claims that the companies contribute to Chinese government surveillance and that they pose a “significant risk.”

According to the report, “the actions of these entities regarding the collection and analysis of genetic data present a significant risk of diversion to China’s military programs.”

Forensics Genomics International, BGI’s forensics subsidiary, was also listed.

Inspur was accused by the commerce department of attempting to acquire US goods to support China’s efforts to modernize its military.

Both the businesses and the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, D.C., did not immediately respond to inquiries for clarification.

26 additional Chinese entities were added to the list by Commerce, making it difficult for targeted businesses to receive US goods from suppliers.

The additions included three Russian, Belarusian, and Taiwanese businesses that were contributing to Moscow’s military, as well as several entities that Commerce said were supplying or attempting to supply a sanctioned entity in Iran.

Companies in China and Myanmar were also targeted by the sanctions for violating human rights, as were companies in Pakistan and China for contributing to ballistic missile programs of concern, including Pakistan’s.

In a statement, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Thea Kendler stated, “We add them to the Entity List to ensure we can scrutinize their transactions when we identify entities that pose a national security or foreign policy concern for the United States.”

Since Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a technology war for years, the most recent additions to the trade blacklist are likely to intensify hostility.

Since the Biden administration shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had crossed a large portion of the United States last month, tensions have been particularly high.

Matthew Axelrod, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, stated, “We cannot allow our adversaries to misuse and abuse technology to commit human rights abuses and other acts of oppression.”

We are committed to preventing malicious individuals from stealing our technology because of this. To combat this threat, we will use every tool at our disposal.

Two units of BGI Group, the largest genomics company in the world, were added to the US Commerce Department’s economic blacklist in 2020 due to allegations that the company conducted genetic analyses that were used to support the repression of China’s minority Uyghurs.

Beijing has refuted the allegations. At the time, BGI denied allegations of wrongdoing.

Keep in mind that the United States of America has slapped sanctions on businesses with headquarters in China for engaging in illegal fishing practices. The Treasury Department of the United States has named several Chinese fishing businesses as its targets and has accused them of violating human rights.

Sanctions against several businesses and individuals have been imposed by the United States due to alleged violations of human rights in connection with what Washington describes as illegal distant-water fishing operations based in China.

The Chinese nationals Li Zhenyu and Zhuo Xinrong, as well as ten organizations associated with them, including Dalian Ocean Fishing Company and Pingtan Marine Enterprise, were the targets of the sanctions, according to a statement released on Friday by the US Treasury Department.

The department also found 157 vessels with the Chinse flag that were related to the targeted entities. It said that these vessels were involved in “serious human rights abuses” and forced labor practices.

In a statement, Treasury Department official Brian E. Nelson said, “Treasury condemns the practices of those sanctioned today, which frequently involve the abuse of human rights, undermine fundamental labor and environmental standards, and harm the economic prospects of local populations in the Indo-Pacific.”

China has been criticized for its use of practices like “distant water fishing,” in which boats fish in international waters or in the waters of other nations outside of their exclusive economic zone (EEV), which is 200 nautical miles (300 kilometers). China has the world’s largest fleet of distant water fishermen.

The US Treasury Department says that Dalian Ocean Fishing Company spent 13 months at sea, killing five workers and dumping three of them into the water. It said the organization’s groups work a normal 18 hours per day, living off of lapsed food and defiled water.

The United States also said that Pingtan Marine Enterprise and Dalian Ocean Fishing Company were involved in illegal shark finning.

Climate change poses a threat to marine life worldwide, so efforts to combat illegal fishing are timely. Nearly 10% of marine life is at risk of extinction.

China has asserted that it is a responsible member of the international fishing community, that its fleet fishes within their exclusive economic zone, and that it is enforcing laws against illegal fishing.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the embassy, stated, “The US is in no position to impose unwarranted sanctions on other countries or act as a world policeman.”

However, to combat alleged violations by fishing fleets, US President Joe Biden signed a national security memorandum in June with a focus on China.

A US official stated in the same month that China was obligated to “actively monitor and correct… fishing fleet activities in other countries’ waters.”

The Treasury Department’s Nelson commented on the new sanctions, “These designations demonstrate how seriously we take the problem of illicit fishing and our commitment to hold the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses to account.”

The measures prevent US businesses from doing business with the targeted individuals and entities and block any property and interests they may have in the US.

The US was criticized by the country’s embassy in Washington for “pointing fingers at other countries and imposing unilateral sanctions under the pretext of human rights,” according to the statement.

The United States has sanctioned a NASDAQ company for the first time with the Pingtan action.

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