China has mocked the logic behind the Biden administration’s targeting of its electric vehicle companies.

On February 29, President Joe Biden instructed the Department of Commerce to investigate the security threats posed by “connected vehicles with technology from countries of concern.”

Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, criticized the Biden administration by mocking the framing of the security threat.

“Such remarks are not only false narratives but also a typical move of politicizing economic and trade issues and overstretching the concept of security,” Mao said on March 4 during the daily press briefing.

She continued: “By this logic, should China be more worried about Washington sending Chinese users’ information to the U.S. via hundreds of millions of iPhones, or even disabling them simultaneously?”

The White House is concerned that Chinese internet-connected electric cars and trucks could pose a security threat, as the vehicles’ technology could allow Beijing to access data and control the vehicles remotely. The new investigation will examine the cybersecurity threat posed by electric cars from several countries, including China, rather than merely target the vehicles.

The Biden administration has already introduced comprehensive export controls, making it more challenging for Chinese companies to acquire cutting-edge U.S. technology—such as semiconductors—with military applications in various sectors, including artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

China’s electric car companies have emerged as leading manufacturers, as companies such as BYD have surpassed Tesla in the number of cars they have manufactured. BYD’s cars sell at a price much lower than Tesla’s range of electric vehicles and have seen rising demand in some areas of the world.

In 2023, BYD manufactured 3 million cars, surpassing Tesla’s production for the second year in a row, CNBC reported in January.

Newsweek contacted the U.S. Department of Commerce for comment by email outside of normal working hours.

Chinese Electric Vehicles At Yantai port
Electric car exports waiting to be loaded on the BYD Explorer No.1, a vessel intended to export Chinese automobiles, at Yantai port, in Shandong province, on January 10. China has mocked the logic behind Biden’s…

STR/AFP via Getty

“China is determined to dominate the future of the auto market, including by using unfair practices,” Biden said in a statement that accompanied the announcement.

“Most cars these days are ‘connected’—they are like smart phones on wheels. These cars are connected to our phones, to navigation systems, to critical infrastructure, and to the companies that made them,” Biden added.

The president also said: “China’s policies could flood our market with its vehicles, posing risks to our national security. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch.”

Though the investigation is still underway, it remains unclear what measures the Commerce Department could take against electric vehicles.

“One official said the U.S. Commerce Department had the authority to impose a range of measures, such as barring transactions or requiring mitigation actions, although that did not include tariffs,” the Financial Times reported.

Another official told the outlet that the Biden administration was in “no way committed to a ban of Chinese electric vehicles.”

As the investigation was announced, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raised concerns about the potential threat of interconnected technology installed on Chinese electric cars.

“Imagine if there were thousands or hundreds of thousands of Chinese connected vehicles on American roads that could be immediately and simultaneously disabled by somebody in Beijing,” Raimondo said at a briefing, according to The Washington Post.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington told the Financial Times that the investigation’s approach was “clearly discriminatory,” as the value of U.S. car exports to China were three times the volume of China’s exports to the U.S.

“It is hoped that the United States will immediately stop this investigation, avoid launching similar investigations and stop creating obstacles to normal economic and trade activities such as imports from China and investment by Chinese companies in the United States,” Liu Pengyu, the embassy’s spokesperson, told the newspaper.