Natera: Company’s Ties with China’s BGI Genomics Exposes It to Political and Regulatory Risk
National Security attorney Antonia Tzinova was interviewed by The Capitol Forum about Natera's joint venture with a Chinese genetic testing company, BGI Genomics, that has ties to the People's Liberation Army. This article explains why the company's partnership has the potential to raise national security and human rights concerns. In October 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) blacklisted BGI and placed it on the list of "Chinese military companies" operating in the U.S. While the DOD technically cannot prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with listed companies, BGI’s placement on the list demonstrates the government’s concern and signals potential future actions such as an outright prohibition of the company from doing business in the U.S.
“Natera’s licensing agreement with BGI doesn’t appear to be breaking any U.S. laws or prohibitions. But transacting with parties identified by the U.S. government as ‘military companies’ is a high-risk affair,” said Ms. Tzinova.
The article goes on to discuss potential outcomes for Natera and their business relationship with BGI. Ms. Tzinova explained that Natera could be compelled to stop its partnership with BGI through export control prohibitions or the federal contracts’ stipulations.
“DOD could potentially prohibit Natera from transacting with BGI, just like they did with issuing the prohibitions on the use of Chinese telecom equipment in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,” she said, referring to the prohibition on doing business with companies like Huawei and ZTE.
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