Cracking Down on Chinese Drones: A Bipartisan Effort

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The Move for Tougher Measures

In a rare display of unity, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are putting pressure on the Biden administration to take a firmer stance against Chinese drone manufacturers, citing economic and national security concerns. Spearheaded by Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, a comprehensive letter was sent to high-ranking officials urging immediate action.

The Core of the Concern

Chinese drone giants, notably DJI and Autel Robotics, have allegedly been heavily subsidized by their government, leading to their dominance in the U.S. drone markets—holding over 77 percent of the hobby sector and more than 90 percent of the commercial arena.

This market control, combined with allegations of data harvesting for the Chinese military and intelligence, has sounded alarms at the highest levels of U.S. governance.

Proposed Countermeasures

The letter outlines a multi-pronged strategy to curb the influence of Chinese drones. This includes:

  • Implementing higher tariffs beyond the current 25% on Chinese drones.
  • Strengthening enforcement against evasion tactics, such as using third Countries to sidestep tariffs.
  • Prohibiting the use of U.S. federal funds for purchasing Chinese drones.

These measures aim not only to protect the U.S. Drone Industry but also to safeguard sensitive data from falling into the hands of the Chinese military and intelligence services.

A Unanimous Call for Action Against Chinese Drones

Joining Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has echoed the call for a tougher stance. Their concerns extend to the use of Chinese drones in mapping and transmitting sensitive U.S. infrastructure data, potentially offering a backdoor to espionage. Moreover, the troubling trend of Chinese drones being exported to Russia, some labeled for military operations, adds an international dimension to the urgency of the matter.

A Unified Front for National Security

The bipartisan push against Chinese drone dominance is not just about market share; it’s a matter of national security and economic integrity. By advocating for stringent measures, these lawmakers aim to level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and ensure the protection of critical data. The ball is now in the Biden administration’s court to respond and act on these recommendations, signaling a pivotal moment in U.S.-China strategic competition.

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