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US Lawmakers Urge Biden Administration to Block Investments in Chinese Tech Firm Quectel Over Military Ties

Virginia, U.S, April 6, 2023. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The US House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party is calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to restrict US investments in the Chinese tech company Quectel by designating it as a military entity. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Committee Chairman Representative Mike Gallagher and Ranking Democrat Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi argue that Quectel should be listed as a “PRC military company,” citing “significant evidence” suggesting its potential contribution to the defense industrial base.

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Allegations of Military Ties

The committee contends that there is credible evidence indicating Quectel’s potential role in contributing to the defense industrial base, urging the administration to designate it as a military entity to restrict its access to US capital.

Lawmakers express concern about Quectel’s increasing market share in the US and its presence in smart devices across the country, raising questions about its alleged connection to the Chinese military.

Quectel, a global supplier of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, dismisses the claims as “false accusations,” asserting that its products are designed solely for civil use and pose no threat to US national security.

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Previous Concerns and Huawei Connections

The committee had previously raised concerns about China remotely controlling devices embedded with Chinese-made connectivity modules. The letter associates Quectel with the Chinese military, citing its technology supply to Beidou, a critical navigation satellite system for China’s military operations.

Lawmakers highlight Quectel’s role as a major supplier to Huawei Technologies, emphasizing its design of modules integrated into Huawei’s platforms. The US banned the sale of new equipment by Huawei in 2022 due to national security concerns.

The letter notes Chinese media’s acknowledgment of Quectel’s contribution to Huawei, reducing the telecom giant’s reliance on Western companies and mitigating vulnerabilities to US export controls and sanctions.

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