A U.S. congressional committee has asked the Commerce Department to look into whether a giant technology company controlled by the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates should be put under trade restrictions because of its ties to China.
The company, G42, specializes in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, and is overseen by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the national security adviser of the Emirates and a younger brother of the country’s ruler.
It has signed recent agreements with prominent American technology companies, including Microsoft, Dell and OpenAI. A Silicon Valley chip firm, Cerebras, is building a supercomputer for G42 to create and power A.I. products.
But in a letter sent to the Commerce Department on Wednesday, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party said the company works extensively with China’s “military, intelligence services and state-owned entities,” according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. The letter was signed by the chairman of the committee, Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin.
Officials in the Biden administration have privately expressed similar concerns about the company, which they fear could be a conduit by which advanced American technology is siphoned to Chinese companies or the government, The New York Times reported in November.
Although the Emirates is a U.S. partner and one of the biggest buyers of American weapons, it has increasingly sought military and economic cooperation with China. That has stoked worries among U.S. officials, who often visit the small Persian Gulf nation to discuss security issues. On Monday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met in Abu Dhabi with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the leader of the Emirates, while on a regional tour focused on the Israel-Gaza war, and the two “underscored the importance of the strategic partnership,” the State Department said.
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