Tech groups protest anti-China provision in US budget resolution

The amendment targeting Chinese-made IT products could harm the US government and vendors, the trade group say

A little-publicized provision in a U.S. government budget resolution that largely prohibits four agencies from using Chinese-made IT products could backfire, several tech trade groups said.

The provision, in a 2013 budget resolution signed by President Barack Obama on March 26, bars the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, NASA and the National Science Foundation from acquiring IT systems manufactured by companies owned or subsidized by the Chinese government.

The prohibition is limited, however, if the head of the agency, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other federal cybersecurity experts, conduct a risk assessment of the IT product for "cyberespionage or sabotage," according to the language of the amendment to the budget resolution.

That amendment, added to the budget resolution with little fanfare, will "set a troubling and counterproductive precedent that could have significant international repercussions and put U.S.-based global IT companies at a competitive disadvantage in global markets," said a letter sent to congressional leaders Thursday by 11 trade groups, including BSA, TechAmerica, the Semiconductor Industry Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The budget amendment could impede the U.S. government from acquiring the "latest cutting-edge IT products," the letter said. The requirement to assess IT products will slow the federal acquisition process, it said.

In addition, the provision could lead the Chinese government to retaliate against U.S. IT vendors, and it could encourage "copycat" legislation in other countries that limits their governments' purchase of U.S. products, the letter said.

"Fundamentally, product security is a function of how a product is made, used, and maintained, not by whom or where it is made," the letter said. "Geographic-based restrictions run the risk of creating a false sense of security when it comes to advancing our national cybersecurity interests."

Several lawmakers have renewed their long-time concerns about China cyberespionage this year, after security vendor Mandiant in February pointed to a hacking group allegedly linked to the Chinese army.

The budget amendment originated in the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee of the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee, according to published reports. A spokeswoman for Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on the trade groups' letter.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags U.S. Federal Bureau of InvestigationU.S. Department of JusticeFrank WolfGovernment use of ITNASAU.S. Department of CommerceBarack ObamaMandianttradeBSAU.S. House of RepresentativesU.S. Chamber of CommerceSemiconductor Industry AssociationU.S. National Science FoundationgovernmentTechAmerica

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?