According to The Epoch Times, the recently finalized version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2020 contains provisions that would prohibit federal money from being used to procure rail cars and buses from “owned or controlled” enterprises, such as those from China.
Those provisions, however, exclude pre-existing contracts.
The NDAA, which sets budgets and expenditure for the Pentagon, this year included $738 billion for the department set national defense policy.
For months, bipartisan lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to safeguard U.S. national security from threats posed by Chinese-made public transit vehicles. In the Senate, the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act was introduced in March, and the House version of the bill was introduced two months later.
Two Chinese companies—state-owned rail car manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) and Chinese battery and electric bus maker BYD—would likely see their businesses affected by this move.
The NDAA also includes language that prohibits the U.S. military from “entering into or renewing a contract” for buying Chinese drones. Bills have been introduced in both the Senate and the House that would impose restrictions on the government for procuring Chinese drones over concerns that the products could be used for spying.
U.S. officials and experts first raised espionage concerns about the use of Chinese-made rail cars earlier this year when media reports said that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) might award a contract to CRRC.
CRRC has made significant inroads into the U.S. market since 2014, winning contracts in the cities of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
“Chinese government support has generated market distortions in a wide array of sectors and could enable the anti-competitive expansion of Chinese companies in the United States,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission (USCC) said in its 2019 annual report to Congress.