Biden Administration Serves Subpoenas on Chinese Companies Under Trump Executive Order to Audit ICTS Supply Chain

The U.S. Commerce Secretary announced Wednesday (March 17) the issuance of subpoenas to a number of Chinese companies to provide information about their information and communications technology services (ICTS) in the United States to determine whether they pose a risk to national security.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement, “The Biden-Harris Administration has been clear that unrestricted access to untrustworthy information and communications technology services poses a national security risk. Beijing has engaged in behavior that diminishes our technological advantage and threatens our alliances.”

She said, “By issuing a subpoena today, we are taking a significant step to gather information that will allow us to make a judgment call on actions that may be taken to best protect American companies, the safety of American workers, and the national security of the United States. We want to work with these companies and complete a thorough review.”

The statement did not name any companies. China’s huawei and ZTE became key targets for Washington to remove from the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure under former President Donald Trump.

In the statement, Biden Administration Commerce Secretary Raimondo cited an executive order issued by President Trump in 2019.

The subpoenas were issued under the transaction review requirements set forth in Executive Order 13873 to investigate whether the companies were involved in transactions that met the standards established by the executive order, the statement said.

President Trump issued the full name of the executive order, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain). The executive order prohibits anyone within the jurisdiction of the United States from acquiring, importing, transferring, installing, trading in, or using any information and communications technology or service developed or controlled by a “foreign adversary.