DJI can no longer buy components from the US for its drones

The Commerce Department said the drone maker 'enabled wide-scale human rights abuses within China.'

·1 min read

The Department of Commerce has added 78 companies and individuals to its entity list, which effectively blocks US businesses from dealing with them. Joining the likes of Huawei on the list are Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, which is China's largest chipmaker, and drone giant DJI.

American companies can't export US-made components to those on the entity list without a license. As such, DJI will find it very difficult to source parts from the country. US consumers might find it harder to buy goods from those on the list, too.

The Commerce Department said it added DJI, AGCU Scientech, China National Scientific Instruments and Materials and Kuang-Chi Group to the list because they “enabled wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance,” according to Reuters. The public security bureau of Xinjiang has reportedly used DJI drones in the surveillance of Uyghurs, a primarily Muslim ethnic group who mostly live in that province.

It's not the first time US authorities have taken action against Chinese-built drones. Earlier this year, the Department of the Interior grounded almost its entire drone fleet over spying fears related to devices that were made in China or contain Chinese parts. The Department of Justice has also blocked the use of agency funds to buy foreign-built drones.