The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday it had filed subpoenas to several Chinese companies providing ICT services in the United States to see if they pose a national security risk.
“Beijing has engaged in behavior that undermines our technological superiority and threatens our alliances,” Trade Minister Gina Raymondo said in a statement.
The subpoenas will collect information “to allow us to decide on the potential action that best protects the security of American companies, American workers, and the national security of the United States.”
The statement did not name any companies. Huawei Technologies and China’s ZTE Corp were targeted by Donald Trump’s previous administration to remove them from the US communications infrastructure.
President Joe Biden’s administration said last month that it plans to allow a Trump-era base targeting Chinese tech companies believed to be a threat to the United States to go into effect despite U.S. companies’ objections.
The Commerce Department issued a temporary final rule in the final days of the Trump administration aimed at addressing ICT supply chain concerns and said it would take effect after a 60-day period of public comment.
Last month, the ministry said it would continue to accept public comments on the rule until March 22, when it comes into effect. A ministry official said on Wednesday that the summonses will have no bearing on the timing of the interim final base.
The US Chamber of Commerce and groups representing major industries raised concerns in a letter to the Commerce Department in January that the temporary law gives the government “virtually unlimited power to intervene in virtually any business deal between US companies and their foreign counterparts involving technology.”
Business Roundtable, a group representing the chief executives of the United States, said earlier that the proposal “is not applicable to US companies in its current form.”