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US adds two dozen Chinese groups to trade blacklist

Washington has put 28 Chinese groups on a trade blacklist for allegedly breaching US sanctions by sending technology for nuclear and missile programmes to third countries or procuring banned products for China’s military.

The commerce department placed the groups on its “entity list”, which in effect prohibits US companies from supplying them with technology that is produced in America.

Some of the companies were blacklisted for allegedly supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and for providing technology to an Iranian entity previously targeted by US sanctions.

Among the better-known Chinese targets are BGI Research and BGI Tech Solutions, part of BGI Group, the largest genomics research company in the country. The US is increasingly concerned that China could use groups such as BGI to obtain Americans’ genetic data.

The move is the Biden administration’s latest effort to punish Chinese groups that allegedly violated export control rules by providing or trying to provide technology that would assist the People’s Liberation Army in its rapid military modernisation.

The blacklistings are also a response to a range of other activities, including providing Pakistan with nuclear and missile technology and supplying Myanmar and other Chinese groups with surveillance technology that enables repression and human rights abuses.

“When we act to stand against proliferators, oppose military aggression in the case of Russia and the People’s Republic of China military modernisation, and protect and advance human rights, we are putting . . . [US] values into action and enhancing our shared security,” said Don Graves, deputy commerce secretary.

The targeted companies included Loongson Technology, a chipmaker that originated in the state-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences. Loongson’s core technology is considered China’s answer to Intel and Arm for chip design.

The commerce department also targeted Suzhou Centec Communications, a company that designs chips, for acquiring or seeking to obtain US technology for the PLA, as well as for assisting other groups already on the entity list.

Centec designed chips for 5G network equipment, a market that used to be dominated by Huawei in China, and for data centres to support Chinese supercomputing.

The US also blacklisted 4Paradigm Technology, a group that specialises in artificial intelligence, and Inspur Group, which focuses on AI, cloud computing and big data, for supporting the PLA’s modernisation drive.

The addition of Chinese entities to the list, which has been used to target big groups such as Huawei, comes as relations between Washington and Beijing have hit new lows in the wake of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US.

Over the past two weeks, senior US officials have warned that China was considering sending ammunition to Russia to support its war in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the US also blacklisted DMT Trading, a company in Belarus, and Neotec Semiconductor in Taiwan for helping Russia bolster its defence industry.

Six companies — including Galaxy Electronics and Arttronix International — were also added to the list for supplying or trying to provide technology without a required licence to Pasna, an Iranian group that is on a separate Treasury department list of companies that have been sanctioned.

The Treasury alleges that Pasna has previously tried to obtain metals used in anti-submarine warfare and ocean surveillance.

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