Trump to halt civilian drone program over China tech concerns: FT


(Reuters) – The U.S. government is planning to permanently halt its civilian drone program due to the devices being made at least partly in China, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The U.S. Department of the Interior is considering halting about 1,000 drones after deciding that the risk of the drones being used by Beijing for spying was too high, the FT report said, citing two people briefed on the plans.

Sources also told FT that the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has not signed an official policy but is planning to pull the fleet from action, with exceptions for emergencies such as fighting wildfires and training.

The Department of the Interior was not immediately available for comment.

China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, the world’s largest commercial drone maker, said on Monday that while it has not seen the new policy, it is looking forward to reviewing the U.S. department’s findings, given the lack of credible evidence to support a broad country of origin restriction on drone technology.

“We urge policymakers and industry stakeholders to come together to create clear standards that will give commercial and government drone operators the assurance they need to confidently evaluate drone technology no matter where it is made,” the company added.

Reporting by Mekhla Raina and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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