Congress Wants to Ban Chinese Buses, Railcars in Defense Bill – By Lindsay Wise, Katy Stech Ferek (Wall Street Journal) / Dec 9 2019
WASHINGTON—Congress is taking aim at China in a must-pass defense-policy bill at the same time that the Trump administration is seeking to negotiate an interim trade pact with Beijing.
House and Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would bar the use of federal funds to buy Chinese buses and railcars, congressional aides familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal, adding that the ban excludes pre-existing contracts.
The legislation would affect the U.S. subsidiaries of two Chinese companies. One is China’s state-owned CRRC Corp., which has been making significant inroads into the U.S. market for railcars, estimated at $18 billion annually. The other is BYD Co., a Chinese company that sells electric buses for the U.S. market through unit BYD Motors LLC.
The U.S. electric-bus market is expected to grow from $745 million in 2018 to about $1.95 billion in 2024, according to Prescient & Strategic Intelligence Pvt. Ltd., a market-research and consulting firm.
Marina Popovic, human-resources director and chief legal counsel for CRRC Sifang America Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of CRRC, said it was unfortunate Congress decided to move forward on the ban.
BYD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies have previously warned that a ban is unfair and would hurt U.S. workers at their factories in California, Illinois and Massachusetts.
“Under this legislation, U.S. transit agencies and taxpayers will ultimately have to bear the financial burden of modernizing passenger railcar fleets that must be updated and upgraded to ensure security, efficiency and safety of its passengers,” she said.