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U.S. lawmakers ask Pentagon for list of Chinese companies to curb 'economic espionage'

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By Bryan Pietsch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers asked the Pentagon on Thursday to name companies owned by the Chinese military operating in the United States in an attempt to curb Beijing’s effort to “steal” technology for military purposes.

Companies owned by the Chinese government “acquire American firms to transfer proprietary information,” among other tactics, said the group of Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, including U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a letter to Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to request for comment.

A Pentagon report in 2018 said China dominates the global supply of rare earth minerals critical to U.S. military operations, as well as supplies of electronics and chemicals.

“China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials and technologies deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security,” the report said.

The lawmakers asked the Pentagon to compile a list of companies owned by the Chinese military operating in the United States, citing a provision in the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 1999.

The lawmakers requested the public release of an updated list “as soon as possible” to “combat China’s economic espionage in the United States.”

(Reporting by Bryan Pietsch; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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