Sen. Cotton, Rep. Gallagher call on Biden admin to blacklist Chinese biotech companies
US should get China to behave like a ‘responsible actor’: Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Ton Cotton on TikTok, China
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., are demanding the Biden administration add Chinese biotechnology companies to the U.S. government’s economic blacklist, arguing that China intends to use biotechnology for military purposes against U.S. interests.
"The Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to steal Americans’ most private information – including their DNA," Cotton told Fox News in a statement. "Blacklisting Chinese biotechnology companies will help counter the CCP’s privacy invasion and strengthen our national security."
Cotton and Gallagher announced Thursday that they sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calling for Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) and other Chinese biotech companies to be added to the blacklist.
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The congressional members argued in the letter that BGI routinely acts on behalf of China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s strategy of "Military-Civil Fusion."
"BGI operates in the defense and related materiel sector of the Chinese economy, it is involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and it is a clear military-civil fusion contributor to China’s defense industrial base," they wrote.
The members said BGI, which now manages China’s national gene database, has purchased American firms and is using state subsidies to "undercut the global DNA sequencing market."
"BGI and at least 14 other Chinese companies perform genomic sequencing for U.S. health care patients. As mandated by Chinese law, these companies have almost certainly shared this data with the Chinese government," they wrote. "Joint BGI-PLA research could have an application in future bioweapons – which is especially concerning because BGI’s national gene bank is presumably made available for military research."
Gallagher told Fox News in a statement, "Biotechnology is a critical emerging sector that may well define the 21st century economy. We are only just beginning to understand its potential applications, both positive and malign. The Biden Administration must act now before it is too late to ensure that Chinese companies like BGI do not come to dominate this key sector."
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The members are asking BGI and other Chinese biotech companies to be added to the Department of the Treasury’s Non-SDN Chinese Military Industrial Complex Companies List, which bans the companies from trading on U.S. exchanges.
They also want the companies added to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, which imposes strict export licensing requirements, and the Department of Defense’s list of Chinese military companies, which directly targets Military-Civil Fusion contributors.
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