U.S. authorities have imposed sanctions on 28 entities from countries such as China and Russia, accusing some among them of helping Russia to make military drones.
The new trade blacklist released on Sept. 25 includes 11 Chinese firms, along with five from Russia and others based in Pakistan, Finland, Oman, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates.
Nine of them, including Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Links, conspired to supply the previously sanctioned Russian defense contractor, Special Technology Center, with drone parts for Russia’s military intelligence agency, violating U.S. export controls, according to the Commerce Department.
The department named two other Hong Kong firms, Speed Business Trading and Sunrising Logistics, as trying to support Iran’s weapons of mass destruction and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) programs. Five other Chinese entities, as well as an employee from one of the sanctioned firms, were also blacklisted for allegedly working in concert to supply aerospace parts for Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Co., an aircraft production firm, to make drones for Iran to attack oil tankers in the Middle East, and for Russia in Ukraine, the Commerce Department stated.
Commerce officials also flagged the Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology, which is affiliated with China’s top state scientific institution, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on suspicion that it was taking items of U.S. origin to further Chinese military research.
“Our actions send a clear message to those trying to evade our export controls that there will be consequences for behavior that seeks to undermine U.S. national security interests,” said Alan Estevez, undersecretary of commerce for industry and security. “We will not hesitate to take swift and meaningful action against those who continue seeking to supply and support [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal and immoral war in Ukraine.”
The list demonstrates the U.S. resolve to “be relentless in imposing consequences” on matters related to national security, including actions on Russia's evading export controls, according to Matthew S. Axelrod, the assistant secretary for export enforcement.
“We can't be selling our most sophisticated artificial intelligence chips or other technology to the PRC [People’s Republic of China] so that they can get it to put in their military and use it in a way to undercut our national security,” she told lawmakers, noting that they need more funding for the department’s export control arm, the Bureau of Industry and Security, for recruiting export enforcement agents and tech experts.
“Increasingly, national security is about technology and keeping our edge over China, staying ahead of them.”
Recipients of the fund under the rules wouldn't be able to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in “foreign countries of concern” such as China for 10 years, partake in joint research, or license a technology or product that raises national security concerns with any “foreign entities of concern.”