WASHINGTON — An organization which opposes U.S. contracts for Chinese manufacturer CRRC is calling on the new Secretary of Defense to maintain the company’s place on a list of firms tied to China’s military, which can hinder its ability to land new deals.
The Rail Security Alliance, funded by a rail trade group, freight car manufacturers, and labor unions, said in a June 1 letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III that the U.S. freight rail industry is “jeopardized by CRRC’s agenda and its conquests to date” and CRRC plants and transit equipment orders mean China’s People’s Liberation Army “now has active footholds … on American soil, and it is providing passenger railcars to transit agencies across the nation.”
The Rail Security Alliance last year lobbied for sanctions against CRRC after it was included on the Department of Defense list [see “Digest: Groups lobby for major U.S. sanctions …,” Trains News Wire, July 23, 2020], and the company has been blocked from some contracts, most notable for DC Metrorail [see “Hitachi Rail lands contract …,” News Wire, Oct. 6, 2020].
The Boston Herald reports the letter comes as affiliate CRRC-MA begins work at its plant in Springfield, Mass., on an order of up to 282 subway cars for LA Metro. It quotes a company spokeswoman as saying, “We find the criticism unfair. It’s a railcar maker. There are no U.S. [passenger] railcar companies.”