Global companies spend millions lobbying Senate bill targeting US competitiveness • OpenSecrets

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Lobbying filings show foreign companies based in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region have lobbied the United States Competition and Innovation Act (USICA), which imposes penalties on China for violating human rights. man, and other bills related to boosting the global competitiveness of the United States.

DJI Technology, a China-based company, spent $1 million on lobbying in 2021. The company specializes in manufacturing drones and lobbied for USICA Title IV, also known as US law on Senate Security Drones, which prohibits the federal government from obtaining unmanned drones. aircraft systems (UAS) from China. DJI also lobbied the House UAS Act, which prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from obtaining and funding unmanned aircraft from foreign countries or companies based in certain countries.

“DJI is extremely concerned about measures that would prevent U.S. first responders, government agencies, researchers, and educators from choosing the best drone for their needs,” DJI Technology U.S. spokesperson Adam Lisberg told OpenSecrets. “The USICA and UAS Act bills could undermine their work and would remove the tools public safety officers rely on to protect the public and themselves in life-and-death situations.”

“Our US competitors are actively lobbying federal and state government agencies for preferential treatment for their products, and our customers expect us to be able to defend their access to our products,” he added.

In August last year, the Department of Defense awarded 17 companies, the majority based in the United States, nearly $1 billion in Afghanistan-related contracts. These companies have spent millions lobbying on defense issues. Leidos, which spent more than $2.5 million on lobbying last year and is based in the United States, received $82 million to supply unmanned aircraft systems for the US Air Force.

“Like the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center, we oppose limiting drone technology based solely on its country of origin, which is ineffective in identifying real threats but would actually harm American drone innovation,” Linsberg continued, adding “we fully support protecting the data of all U.S. drone users by developing industry-wide cybersecurity standards that apply to all companies in the market”.

In December 2021, the Treasury Department sanctioned DJI, alleging the company’s drones were being used to spy on Uyghur Muslims in China. Asked about the allegations, Linberg told OpenSecrets, “DJI has done nothing to justify its inclusion on the Entity List. We have always been focused on building products that save lives and benefit society. DJI and its employees remain committed to providing our customers with the most innovative technology in the industry.We are evaluating options to ensure that our customers, partners and suppliers are treated fairly.

DJI products are used by more than 900 US security agencies, including New York and Boston police departments and the National Park Service, which used DJI drones to fight California wildfires.

Samsung, a South Korea-based multinational, spent $3.7 million on lobbying in the United States last year, a slight increase from the $3.3 million spent in 2020. Last year, the company lobbied the USICA and its goal of expanding American telecommunications and improving the network. security, and the FABS Act which would grant a tax credit to companies manufacturing chips in the United States. Samsung also lobbied the House’s CHIPS for America Act which, like the Senate bill, plans to fund companies that make chips in the United States.

Samsung said it would spend $17 billion to build a factory in Texas, helping to tackle the chip shortage that began during the pandemic when demand for new technologies surged.

Japanese multinational Toyota and its affiliates spent more than $6.2 million on lobbying last year. The company lobbied parts of USICA focused on US-China relations. Toyota also lobbied for the Endless Frontier Act, which would strengthen American research into technology fields and develop ways to make the United States more competitive. Automaker Toyota has been hit hard by the chip shortage. Profits plummeted in the last three months of 2021 and the company’s car production was cut from 500,000 to 8.5 million.

Earlier this month, the House passed a similar bill called the America COMPETES Act. While there are many similarities to the Senate bill, there are key differences in semiconductor incentive programs, research and development funding, foreign policy, and trade.

The next step will be for the House and Senate to reconcile their differences before sending a final measure to President Joe Biden.

Samsung and Toyota did not return OpenSecrets’ requests for comment before publication.

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