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10 Aug, 2023 05:09

Biden restricts US investments in Chinese tech

Beijing has voiced “serious concern” over the new trade policy and warned of countermeasures
Biden restricts US investments in Chinese tech

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order limiting investment in Chinese technology companies, labeling the People’s Republic a “country of concern,” while claiming it seeks to exploit American business.

The White House announced the move in a statement on Wednesday night, saying the order requires US firms to notify the Treasury Department about certain investments in Chinese tech, while some transactions will be prohibited outright.

“This program will seek to prevent foreign countries of concern from exploiting US investment in this narrow set of technologies that are critical to support their development of military, intelligence, surveillance, and cyber-enabled capabilities that risk US national security,” it said, claiming officials would maintain Washington’s “longstanding commitment to open investment.”

The order applies to Chinese companies working with “sensitive technologies,” including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and quantum computing. On the American side, the policy will largely target private equity and venture capital investment firms looking to do business overseas.

China’s Ministry of Commerce later weighed in on the new rules, voicing “serious concern” while stating that it “reserves the right to take measures” in response.

“We hope the US side respects the laws of the market economy and the principle of fair competition, does not artificially obstruct global economic and trade exchanges and cooperation and does not put up obstacles for the recovery and growth of the world economy,” the ministry said.

Biden’s executive order built upon previous export controls on advanced computer chips, and went as far as to declare a national emergency to confront Beijing’s “rapid” technological advancements, claiming they pose an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States.”

The decision comes amid a tit-for-tat trade row between the US and China, with the White House previously taking action against other Chinese firms, including telecom giants Huawei and ZTE Corp. Officials in Beijing have repeatedly denounced US trade and tech policy since Biden took office, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stating that Washington has “politicized, instrumentalized and weaponized tech issues, and sought to thwart other countries’ technological advancement.”