US Commerce Department Adds 14 Chinese Firms to Unverified List, Increasing Scrutiny

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
March 24, 2023China News
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US Commerce Department Adds 14 Chinese Firms to Unverified List, Increasing Scrutiny
The seal of the Department of Commerce is pictured in Washington, on March 10, 2017. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

President Joe Biden’s administration has added 14 Chinese companies to an export precautions list, requiring U.S. exporters to more closely document their business transactions before shipping goods to the Chinese firms listed.

The U.S. Department of Commerce added these Chinese firms to its Unverified List (UVL) on Thursday after commerce officials were unable to verify certain aspects of these foreign business entities, such as how items exported to these firms are ultimately used.

The Chinese entities added to the UVL include:

  1. Airpart Consolidated Trading
  2. ECOM International (HK) Co., Ltd.
  3. Guangzhou Trusme Electronics Technology Co., Ltd.
  4. HK P&W Industry Co. Ltd. (HKPW)
  5. Jet-Prop International Forwarding (HK) Ltd.
  6. Kesina Services
  7. Lightstar Technology Ltd.
  8. Shandong Yuehaitongxin Keji Ltd.
  9. Shengwei Technology Co., Ltd.
  10. Small Leopard Electronics Co., Ltd.
  11. Solar Way (Hong Kong) Ltd.
  12. Sunway Technology Electronics Ltd.
  13. USETA Tech (HK) Ltd.
  14. Winners Global Trading Co.

As suggested by their inclusion on the UVL, information is limited for several of these businesses. A web page of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council indicates Airpart Consolidated Trading deals primarily with the import and export of aircraft components. The names of several of the other listed entities suggest they deal with electronics and other technology components.

“It is critical that [the Bureau of Industry and Security] is able to conduct end-use checks to determine compliance with U.S. export control rules,” said DOC Assistant Secretary For Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod.  “Where we cannot verify the bona fides of foreign parties, we will continue to add parties to the Unverified List to place restrictions on future export transactions and prevent the diversion of U.S. items.”

The listing could potentially start a 60-day clock that could trigger even tougher penalties for the Chinese firms.

“Enforcing our export controls is a crucial part of protecting American national security,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said in a statement following the new listings. “We are committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to establish how advanced U.S. technology is being used around the globe.”

US Increasingly Wary of Chinese Firms

In addition to the 14 Chinese firms, the Commerce Department added five entities from the United Arab Emirates, two entities from Germany, and a single entity each from Bulgaria, Canada, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore to the UVL on Thursday.

Inclusion on the UVL does not necessarily mean that U.S. exporters cannot engage in business transactions with the listed foreign entities or that there are specific articulable national security or foreign policy concerns associated with those foreign entities. The Commerce Department said inclusion on the UVL is also not meant to serve as a sanction against any particular country or government, particularly as entities from close trading nations like Canada, Germany, and Israel have been added to the UVL.

Inclusion on the UVL does, however, mean that U.S. businesses that carry out transactions with these listed foreign entities must complete extra documentation, including obtaining a statement from authorized officials of the listed foreign entities.

Though the Commerce Department insists that inclusion on the UVL is not necessarily a punitive measure, the Chinese Embassy in Washington condemned the decision to include the Chinese firms on the list. The Chinese Embassy said “China strongly deplores and firmly opposes” the Commerce Department’s actions against the 14 Chinese firms. The embassy also said the action was a continuation of U.S. efforts to “abuse export control measures” and use “state power to suppress and contain foreign companies.

“The U.S. side should immediately stop its wrong practices,” the Chinese embassy added. “China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

The decision to add these 14 Chinese entities to the UVL comes as U.S. officials have expressed increased concerns about the national security threats posed by Chinese entities operating in the U.S. or transacting business with U.S. partners and customers. The Commerce Department added these 14 Chinese firms to the UVL on the same day lawmakers questioned the CEO of the Chinese-owned TikTok app about how the social media platform stores and handles U.S. user data, and shared concerns that the app serves as a tool for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to surveil Americans.

NTD News reached out to the Chinese Embassy in Washington for additional comment, but they did not respond before this article was published.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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