CHICAGO – The world’s largest train manufacturer, a company owned by the Chinese government, is being targeted by U.S. lawmakers concerned it will build “spy trains” in the United States. CRRC Corporation recently opened a new $100 million manufacturing facility in Chicago to build subway cars for that city’s transit system and other cities.
The plant could be idled after fulfilling current contracts, according to a report in The New York Times. CRRC says on their website that they employ about 100 people at their Chicago facility.
CRRC could be the latest casualty in the escalating trade war between the United States and China.
The Times reports that a new bill would stop federal grants from being used to buy subway cars from state owned companies such as CRRC.
The paper reports that there are two major concerns among lawmakers: that because it is subsidized by the Chinese government, CRRC will be able to undermine American coportations and that they will be able to use the cars to track people and conversations.
A spokesman for CRRC tells the Times that CRRC’s competitors are trying to legislate it out of business using national security concerns as a front.
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The bill, which has bipartisan support, would allow CRRC to honor contracts currently in place but would halt business after that.
CRRC also has a plant in Boston and has been negotiating with several other cities to build cars.
In May, Patch reported that Chuck Schumer, the Democrat from New York who is the Senate’s minority leader, warned that CRRC could pose a national security threat to the United States.