Sen. Schumer calls for probe into Chinese firm’s proposal for the subway system in New York City

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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is requesting the Department of Commerce to launch an investigation into CRRC’s proposal for the subway system in New York City.

CRRC is a Chinese government-owned corporation and it is the largest supplier of rail transit equipment worldwide.

Sen. Schumer called for the probe amid the escalating trade war between China and the United States and after the Trump administration denied the application of China Mobile to provide international phone services due to national security concerns.

Schumer wants to make sure CRRC does not pose a national security threat

The New York Democrat also cited national security as the primary reason for his request to the Commerce Department.

In a statement, Sen. Schumer said, “Given what we know about how cyberwarfare works, and recent attacks that have hit transportation and infrastructure hubs across the country, the Department of Commerce must give the green light and thoroughly check any proposals or work China’s CRRC does on behalf of the New York subway system, including our signals, Wi-Fi and more.”

In March last year, CRRC won the MTA Genius Challenge for proposals to modernize New York City’s subway signal system, bring connectivity to underground tunnels and trains as well as to procure state-of-the-art subway cars.

The Chinese company proposed to invest $50 million to “develop a new subway car for MTA NYC Transit using lighter materials, modular design; and modern train control technology.”

According to the MTA, it hasn’t acquired any CRRC railway product for its subway system. The agency also stated that it has strong safety and security standards.

MTA Chief External Affairs Office Max Young, said, “The MTA has robust, multilayered and vigorously enforced safety and security standards, but we support efforts of government agencies to bolster that work.”

On the other hand, a spokesman for CRRC’s branch in Chicago told the Associated Press (AP) that it is impossible to install a malware into subway cars. He added that CRRC plans to use train parts made by American companies.