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Lawmakers request DJI stays on Entity List

Lawmakers request DJI stays on Entity List

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce, legislators Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) request that Chinese drone maker, DJI stays on the Entity List and will be investigated for “drone pricing which has eroded the domestic manufacturing base.”

Lawmakers request DJI stays on Entity List

The letter, dated August 31, 2021, is addressed to Secretary Gina Raimondo of the U.S. Department of Commerce and requests “that the Department maintain and enforce DJI’s status on Entity List and investigate DJI’s drone pricing which has eroded the domestic manufacturing base.” The document is signed by Jan Schakowsky, Chair, Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Gus M. Bilirakis Ranking Member, Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In the letter, the lawmakers first point to reporting that suggests that “DJI drones may have been used by Chinese
security forces in Xinjiang engaged in human rights abuses,” and to additional evidence that shows “drone footage of men shackled and blindfolded at a train station in Xinjiang in 2019.” Schakowsky and Bilirakis express their concerns that “DJI drones may have been used to perpetuate human rights abuses,” and that attempts have been made to cover up the drone maker’s involvement. The lawmakers’ letter continues to say that:

This record of complicity and perfidy underscores that DJI should remain on the Department’s Entity List until it can prove it has disassociated itself from these abuses.

The letter then moves on to a different topic, pointing out DJI’s dominating market share of 77% in the US consumer drone market with its nearest rival having less than 4%. The lawmakers point to reporting that indicates that DJI would have dropped its prices for consumer drones by as much as 70% in 2015 to push three of its largest competitors out of the market. An official from the Department of Defense said that this resulted in a “dramatic loss of domestic production capability.” The lawmakers argue that DJI’s pricing tactics to drive competitors out of the market have hurt the consumers and should therefore be investigated.

The lawmakers end their letter by saying that DJI should stay on the Department’s Entity List for “its history of complicity with human rights abuses,” and that the drone maker should be investigated for harming American consumers with its drone pricing tactics.

DJI’s response

A DJI spokesperson pointed out that accusations about DJI’s pricing have been repeatedly proven false. As you can see in point 5 of our “BUSTED” blog post, DJI has succeeded in the market because we make better products at a lower cost than our competitors – as confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security, by the head of one of our former competitors, and by a U.S. federal court. Making good products at a reasonable price isn’t unfair – it’s the essence of competition.

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Haye Kesteloo

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