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Commerce Probing Self-Driving Truck Company for Export Violations, Report Says

The Commerce Department is reportedly investigating whether autonomous-trucking company TuSimple violated U.S. export controls.

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TuSimple recently tried to send a shipment of export-controlled Nvidia advanced semiconductors to its new subsidiary in Australia as part of a plan to exit the U.S. market, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 30. TuSimple has previously been investigated by national security agencies, including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., for technology transfers involving China (see 2307250026 and 2210310018). The company learned in January that Commerce had stopped the export, the report said, and the agency is investigating whether TuSimple planned to ultimately send the chips to China, which could have violated U.S. export controls.

The report said the Nvidia A100 chips TuSimple planned to send are “among Nvidia’s most powerful processors for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence.” A TuSimple spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment but told the WSJ that the export to Australia was legal and that the company wouldn’t send them to China. “TuSimple is sending spare parts owned by its U.S. business for use by its Australia business because TuSimple is winding down its business in the United States,” the spokesperson said.

A Commerce spokesperson declined to say whether the agency is investigating TuSimple but told us Jan. 31 that the Bureau of Industry and Security is "vigilant in enforcing" its export controls on advanced semiconductors, "including by aggressively pursuing criminal and civil penalties related to unauthorized exports to China." The spokesperson said "generally speaking, such investigations are carried out by trained law enforcement agents whose mission is to pursue them vigorously.”