WASHINGTON, May 15 — A US House committee voiced support today for legislation that would restrict business with China’s BGI, WuXi AppTec and certain other biotech companies on national security grounds.

A member of the committee called for a recorded vote on the measure which will be needed to officially advance the legislation and will come later in the day.

Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability voiced support for the Biosecure Act. If the committee passes it, the bill would need to go through the full House and Senate before the president could sign it into law.

The bill would push US pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to lessen their reliance on Chinese research and manufacturing.

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The US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee voted in favor of similar legislation in March.

The latest version of the House bill gives US companies until 2032 to end work with the Chinese firms, news that lifted shares of potentially impacted Chinese companies in trading in Hong Kong earlier this week.

The latest draft also adds WuXi Biologics to a list of companies of concern that includes WuXi AppTec, as well as BGI, MGI and Complete Genomics.

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Supporters say the legislation is needed to keep Americans’ health and genetic information from foreign adversaries, who could weaponise the data. They also say it is dangerous for China to dominate the biotechnology supply chain.

The targeted companies say the proposed legislation is based on false and misleading allegations and would limit competition. They say they do not pose a threat to US national security and that they should not be included in the bill.

The Biosecure Act would bar federal agencies from contracting with biotech companies deemed of concern. It also would prohibit contracts with companies that use those companies’ equipment or services.

In 2023, Wuxi Biologics earned about 47 per cent of its 17 billion yuan (RM11 billion) in annual sales from North America and about 18 per cent from China, according to its annual report.

Two-thirds of WuXi AppTec’s revenue came from the US market in the first nine months of 2023, according to an investor.

Complete Genomics - another “company of concern” - is a US founded company, headquartered in San Jose, California. It is a subsidiary of China’s MGI, a publicly traded global company.

BGI, a leading provider of genetic sequencing services around the world, has said the legislation will drive the company out of the US — Reuters