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Xiaomi off US blacklist

by on12 May 2021

Smoked the peace pipe

Smartphone maker Xiaomi is off the US blacklist after apparently convincing the US government that it was not in the pockets of the Chinese government and demanding that it prove it.

Earlier this year the US Department of Defense, under the Trump administration, designated the firm as having ties to China's military and placed it on a list that would restrict US investment in the company. Seven other Chinese companies were also placed under similar restrictions.

Xiaomi went on the offensive by filing a lawsuit against the US government, calling its placement "unlawful and unconstitutional" and denying any ties to China's military.

In March, under the new Biden administration, a federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the blacklisting, citing the US government’s “deeply flawed” process for including it in the ban.

Soon after that victory, Reuters reported that other Chinese firms placed on the same blacklist were considering similar lawsuits

Xiaomi was among the more high-profile Chinese technology companies that former President Donald Trump targeted for alleged ties to China's military in the waning days of his administration. 

Trump had made countering the rise of Beijing a centrepiece of his administration's economic and foreign policy and like many things Trumpish it had the faint whiff of illegality and lacking in any substance. In this case the "proof" was extremely flimsy and was based on the fact that a senior Xiaomi exec once received an award from the Chinese military. 

Xiaomi's local smartphone rival Huawei Technologies was also put on an export blacklist in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of US origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.

The measures effectively crippled the company's smartphone division.

Later, the US Department of Defense placed similar restrictions on China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, a firm key to China's national drive to boost its domestic chip sector.

Last modified on 12 May 2021
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