Trump bans investments in Hikvision, other Chinese companies with military links

Nov. 13, 2020
President dings surveillance giant once again in executive order as his administration draws to a close

President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order that prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from investing in Hikvision and other companies that have been previously identified as having links with the Chinese military. The executive order goes into effect on Jan. 11, 2021.   

In June, the U.S. Department of Defense identified Hikvision, along with 19 other firms, including communications giant Huawei, as businesses that are either owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The list was updated again in August to include 11 more firms.

“The president’s action serves to protect American investors from unintentionally providing capital that goes to enhancing the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Republic of China intelligence services, which routinely target American citizens and businesses through cyber operations, and directly threaten the critical infrastructure, economy, and military of America and its allies and partners around the world,” White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Hikvision called the administration’s decision to pursue Hikvision “groundless” and again refuted the government’s claim that it is linked with Chinese armed forces.

“We strongly protested when Hikvision was included on this list in June because, as we have shown time and again, Hikvision is not a ‘Chinese military company.’ Hikvision is independently operated and publicly traded. Hikvision has never participated in any R&D work for military applications. Our business and ownership information has always been publicly available,” the statement reads. “Hikvision has tried to fully cooperate with the U.S. government and transparently answer policymakers’ questions. We have tried to correct misunderstandings about the company and our business. We will continue to try to do so. Hikvision is the global leader in providing video security solutions. These punitive actions against the company do not make America, or the world, any safer.”

The investment ban is just the latest in a laundry list of moves undertaken during the Trump administration that has sought to hamper the ability of Hikvision and other China-based companies to operate in the U.S. As a part of a provision in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that went into effect in August 2019, federal agencies became prohibited from purchasing video surveillance products from Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera Technologies. Under the interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that went into effect this past August, security integrators that want to do business with the federal government are now required to remove Hikvision and Dahua products from their supply chains

Additionally, in October 2019, the Department of Commerce placed both Hikvision and Dahua on a blacklist that prohibits U.S.-based businesses from exporting their products to the companies over their alleged involvement in human rights violations carried out by the Chinese government.

Joel Griffin is the Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran security journalist. You can reach him at [email protected].
(Image courtesy Dilok/bigstockphoto.com)
As integrators prepare for the implementation of the interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) published last month, many questions remain about how the rule will be interpreted and what exactly the final rule will look like.