U.S. blacklists Chinese drone company, dozens of other Chinese companies

The United States government has added the massive Chinese drone company SZ DJI Technology Co, the largest in the world, to its economic blacklist alongside a batch of about 80 other Chinese companies, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Friday morning.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it was adding DJI, AGCU Scientech, China National Scientific Instruments and Materials, and Kuang-Chi Group because the four companies “enabled wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance,” Fox News reports.

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The department also said in some cases the four companies had “facilitated the export of items by China that aid repressive regimes around the world, contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests,” Reuters reports.

Also being added to the list is Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), China’s foremost chipmaker. Explicitly, SMIC will be barred from acquiring technology to manufacture chips with 10-nanometer circuits and smaller, Ross told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday morning.

“What this is all about is these are companies that are tied to the People’s Liberation Army,” said Ross.

“This has to do with is their access to very advanced semiconductor products,” he added.

Further explaining the move, Ross said the blacklist was necessary to “ensure that China, through its national champion SMIC, is not able to leverage U.S. technologies to enable indigenous advanced technology levels to support its destabilizing military activities.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin denounced the U.S. action during a Friday briefing in Beijing.

“We urge the U.S. to stop its wrongful activities cracking down on foreign companies,” he said.

Back in September, the Commerce Department placed SMIC on a different export restrictions list, saying it had conducted a review and concluded that the firm “may pose an unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use in the People’s Republic of China,” according to Fox News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.