Lexmark Parent Sues to Lift Slavery Sanctions

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Chinese printer manufacture Ninestar, parent of Lexmark International, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other related parties of the U.S. government before the U.S. Court of International Trade.

DHS added Ninestar and certain of its subsidiaries to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List, and the company "is suffering irreparable harm to its business and reputation based on the listing," according to a statement.

In conjunction with the lawsuit, Ninestar also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. Court of International Trade, requesting that the court issue a preliminary injunction as soon as possible to promptly suspend the implementation of the decision to place Ninestar on the UFLPA Entity List.

From Selectrics to the Internet of Things

Kentucky-based Lexmark is the old IBM Information Products Corporation, the printer, typewriter, and keyboard operations of International Business Machines, acquired by a group of foreign investors led by Ninestar in 2016.

In addition to laser printers, the firm says, "We are a pioneer in edge-based computing and remotely managing distributed devices, through advanced diagnostic algorithms and machine learning (ML) techniques turning data into insight and action," accorting to their website.

CFIUS Approval in 2016

The 2016 acquisition was vetted and approved by the  Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), with terms to ensure the deal “posed no risk to U.S. national security.” These terms are detailed in a National Security Agreement between Lexmark and the U.S. Departments of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS)

The National Security Agreement ensures that Lexmark "remains a U.S. company with an independent, government-approved board of directors consisting entirely of U.S. citizens.  Each year, we are audited by an independent Security Monitor appointed by the U.S. government to ensure compliance with our National Security Agreement,” according to the company.

DC Clout

The firm's  "independent, government-approved board of directors consisting entirely of U.S. citizens" includes such political heavyweights as

  • Former Chair of the President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers Laura D'Andrea Tyson
  • Former United States Trade Representative and later United States Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor, and
  • Nobel laureate and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.