Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik joined Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition with the Chinese Communist Party and bipartisan lawmakers in a letter urging the Biden administration to open investigations into Autel Robotics, a People’s Republic of China (PRC) drone manufacturer.
The letter addressed to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, explains that Autel Robotics maintains deep connections to the Chinese military, known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This poses a direct threat to U.S. national security as U.S. state and local governments operate Autel drones that could transmit sensitive data to the PLA. The lawmakers cite additional concerns regarding Autel’s PRC state-backed subsidies, Autel’s presence and technology potentially enabling genocide in Xinjiang, Autel drone components containing chips from blacklisted PRC companies ZTE and HiSilicon, and reports that Autel continues its operations in Russia under a pseudonym.
“Autel drones made in Communist China present an unacceptable national security risk and should not be allowed to operate in America. All Chinese companies, including Autel, must abide by Communist China’s foreign espionage laws and provide the Chinese Communist Party with data that their products collect. Chinese drones are now mapping American critical infrastructure giving Communist China detailed images of our energy grid, agricultural technology, and other critical infrastructure,” stated Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “I am proud to join Chairman Gallagher in demanding that the Biden Administration conduct an investigation into Autel to fully assess the clear national security risks of allowing these drones to operate in America and to add Autel to export control lists so they are not able to benefit from American innovation and ingenuity. It is past time that we prohibit the use of Communist Chinese drones in America and I am proud to lead this effort.
Congresswoman Stefanik, Chairman Gallagher, and Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi were joined by Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), John Moolenaar (R-MI), and Neal Dunn (R-FL) also signed the letter.