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The US is reportedly considering blacklisting Chinese surveillance tech firm Hikvision

May 22, 2019

105910971-1557804260825gettyimages-1124858078The US administration is considering limits to Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision’s ability to buy US technology, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, deepening worries about trade frictions between the world’s two top economies.

The move would effectively place Hikvision on a US blacklist and US companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, the paper said.

The US Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies from buying US goods last week, effectively banning US companies from doing business with the Chinese firm, a major escalation in the trade war, saying Huawei was involved in activities contrary to national security.

Hikvision and Dahua Technology which produce audio-visual equipment that can be used for surveillance were specifically cited in a letter to Trump’s top advisers last month, signed by more than 40 lawmakers.

The lawmakers said China’s actions in its western region of Xinjiang “may constitute crimes against humanity” and urged tighter US export controls to ensure that US companies are not assisting the Chinese government’s crackdown there.

The group of signatories were led by US Senator Marco Rubio and US Representative Chris Smith on the Republican side and Senator Bob Menendez and Representative James McGovern on the Democratic side.

China has faced growing condemnation from Western capitals and rights groups for setting up facilities that UN experts describe as mass detention centres holding more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims.

Hikvision shares opened 10% lower.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Hikvision could not be immediately reached for comment.

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