Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

US Mulls Restrictions on Chinese Smart Car Imports

Fri 09 Feb 2024 | 03:36 PM
Israa Farhan

The Biden administration is contemplating imposing restrictions on imports of Chinese "smart cars" and related components, to address growing US concerns over data security, beyond just imposing tariffs.

According to sources familiar with the matter, these measures would target electric vehicles and Chinese-made auto parts, irrespective of their final assembly location, to prevent Chinese manufacturers from transferring cars and components to the US market via third countries, such as Mexico.

It was mentioned that these measures could also extend to other countries about which the US has data security concerns, highlighting that tariffs alone would not fully address the issue.

US officials are particularly worried about the vast amounts of data collected by so-called smart cars, including electric vehicles and other types of connected and autonomous vehicles. Today's vehicles, whether powered by gas or electricity, are increasingly internet-connected, making them potential targets for hacking.

Some sources indicated that the administration might address data security concerns using the existing authorities of the Commerce Department to regulate certain information technology and telecommunications transactions.

However, no decision has been made as officials conduct a comprehensive policy review.

An executive order aimed at ensuring general data privacy is expected to be issued as soon as next week. Officials are also considering amendments to the 27.5% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles initially imposed by President Donald Trump.

The White House and the Commerce Department declined to comment.

Electric vehicles collect vast amounts of information about their drivers and surroundings, driving intense competition in the industry and prompting automakers to equip their vehicles with more and better sensors and driver-assistance software.

Chinese regulations require car companies to store and process much of this data within the country, a rule that could cover sensitive personal information collected by electric vehicles, from license plates to facial features.