US presses Europe to uproot Chinese security screening firm

The United States is targeting China’s largest maker of security screening equipment, saying its growing presence in Europe is a threat to Western security and businesses, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

A campaign by the National Security Council and a handful of US agencies is trying to rally European governments to uproot Nuctech Co., a well-connected Chinese state-controlled company with systems for screening cargo, baggage and cargo. passengers are becoming more and more common in ports. , border posts and airports across Europe.

The U.S. effort, which gained momentum last month, follows a similar offensive in an attempt to exclude Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. from communications networks that has shown mixed results. As with Huawei, the Nuctech campaign is a test of the United States’ ability to persuade its allies to avoid a more affordable equipment supplier, based on American security concerns that companies deem unwarranted.

Nuctech competes for business in more than a dozen European countries, according to an internal State Department memo from May 8 seen by the Wall Street Journal. Finland, a partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, selected Nuctech this month to provide cargo scanners along its border with Russia, despite lobbying from U.S. diplomats. Nuctech was the sole bidder for the Finnish customs office’s contract, which set a low price, according to people familiar with the matter. Finnish customs could not find any security grounds for rejecting the Nuctech equipment, the people said.

Security scanners for people and property – a global market estimated at $ 7.7 billion last year, according to market research firm Insight Partners – have raised questions about the risks of surveillance. ‘State across borders. Systems that screen cargo at ports and checked baggage at airports and stations are increasingly linked to databases containing shipping manifests and passenger information, including passports, fingerprints digital and other details.

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