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US Warns it Could Ban Connected Chinese Electric Vehicles

Commerce Secretary said: “We could take extreme action, which is to say ‘No Chinese connected vehicles in the United States’ or look for mitigation,” including safeguards, guardrails or other requirements.”

The US probe was opened because EVs "collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers (and) regularly use their cameras and sensors to record detailed information on US infrastructure," the White House said earlier this year. Photo: BYD.


US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo issued a warning on Wednesday that the US could take “extreme action” and ban Chinese connected vehicles or impose restrictions on them.

The Biden administration is conducting a national security investigation into electric vehicles made in China. Raimondo said in January that Chinese EVs could be a security risk because of the large amount of data they collect, but this is the first indication a ban could be on the table after the probe.

“We have to digest all the data and then figure out what action that we want to take,” Raimondo said without detailing a timeline. “We could take extreme action, which is to say ‘No Chinese connected vehicles in the United States’ or look for mitigation” including safeguards, guardrails or other requirements.”


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The Commerce Department is reviewing public comments that were due by April 30, Raimondo said, on a probe the Biden administration launched in February into whether Chinese vehicle imports pose national security risks.

The White House said in February the Commerce probe was being opened because vehicles “collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers (and) regularly use their cameras and sensors to record detailed information on US infrastructure.”

White House officials told reporters in February it was too early to say what action might be taken on connected Chinese vehicles.

Raimondo said at a US House of Representatives hearing she was concerned about Chinese connected vehicles that “could be collecting massive amounts of data on Americans, who they are, what they say in their car, where they go to, their patterns of driving.”

She said the United States needs “to take the threat much more seriously” of Chinese connected vehicles and other tech issues.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly said he will take action to prevent a flood of Chinese vehicle imports.

Currently, relatively few Chinese-made light duty vehicles being imported into the United States.

In comments to the Commerce Department, automakers highlighted it may be difficult to overhaul their technology systems to ease national security concerns.


Senate pan seeking ban

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and nearly all major automakers, said in an April 30 filing automakers are committed to developing a framework for information and communications technology and services systems in connected vehicles that appropriately mitigates the risks associated with Chinese designed systems.

But they warned that vehicle systems “including their hardware and software components, undergo extensive pre-production engineering, testing, and validation processes and, in general, cannot be easily swapped with systems or components from a different supplier.”

The government of South Korea in a separate filing said the Korean automotive industry “expresses concerns about the broad scope of the investigation into connected vehicle supply chains, uncertainties surrounding the scope of potential regulatory targets and the timing of the implementation, all of which may lead to significant burdens on the industry.”

Senate Banking Committee Sherrod Brown said on Wednesday he had urged Commerce in a filing “to ban all Chinese internet-connected vehicles and smart vehicle technology that is designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied from China.”

The Biden administration is separately considering imposing new tariffs on Chinese-made vehicles and officials face new pressure to restrict Chinese electric vehicle imports from Mexico.

The Chinese foreign ministry in March said Chinese cars were popular globally not because of “so-called unfair practices” but because they had emerged out of fierce market competition and were technologically innovative.

In November, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers raised alarms about Chinese companies collecting and handling sensitive data while testing autonomous vehicles in the United States.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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