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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Chinese firm Xiaomi exits the US government’s blacklist

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Xiaomi Corp. and the U.S. government have made up and the company has now been taken off the blacklist, it was reported today.

The Chinese electronics giant was accused during the Trump presidency of being “owned or controlled” by the Chinese military and therefore a threat. At the time, many U.S. pundits expressed surprise at the ban, stating that Xiaomi, unlike other banned Chinese tech firms, was not involved in any kind of large-scale infrastructure: Think smartphones and blenders, rather than telecommunications networks.

Xiaomi sued the U.S. government earlier in the year over the blacklisting, a designation that would prevent investment in the company in the U.S. At the time, Xiaomi called the ban unlawful and unconstitutional.

“The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use,” a Xiaomi spokesperson told CNET in February. “The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a ‘Communist Chinese Military Company.’”

It seems now the Department of Defense and the company have come to an agreement, with a joint status report filed this week saying both entities “have agreed upon a path forward that would resolve this litigation without the need for contested briefing.”

Xiaomi has been tight-lipped on the matter, as has the DOD. Emily Horne, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, issued a statement to the media, saying, “The Biden Administration is deeply concerned about potential U.S. investments in companies linked the Chinese military and fully committed to keeping up pressure on such companies.”

Back in March, a federal judge put a block on the blacklisting, stating that the process which led to it was “deeply flawed.” The Biden administration will not challenge this, with Horne saying, “The Trump administration failed to develop a legally sufficient basis for imposing restrictions on the company and compelled this action.”

The DOD and Xiaomi are reportedly currently in negotiations and will file a separate joint proposal sometime before May 20.

Photo: John Russel/Flickr

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