Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday he and President Donald Trump recently met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai to address billionaire investor Peter Thiel’s concerns about Google working with the Chinese government.
“The president and I did diligence on this issue, we’re not aware of any areas where Google is working with the Chinese government in any way that raises concerns,” Mnuchin told CNBC.
Last week Thiel, speaking at the National Conservatism Conference, told the audience that the U.S. government should investigate whether foreign intelligence agencies have access to Google's artificial intelligence projects and the company for allegedly aiding the Chinese military. Axios initial reported the allegations.
After looking into the matter, Mnuchin described Google’s work in China as “very, very limited work,” reported CNBC. The only work Google is doing with the Chinese government is some very minimal open source technology.
“Google’s an American company that wants to help the U.S.,” Mnuchin said.
The comments come a day after sources confirmed to CNBC that American trade negotiations would head back to China for additional trade talks in an attempt to strike a deal.
Huawei’s ban has become a sticking point in the negotiations. In May the United States placed Huawei on a ban list, prohibiting the sale of certain technologies to the company without a special license.
Thiel pointed to Google saying the company seems more than willing to help the Chinese government, but not the U.S. government.
When asked about the cooperation between big technology companies like Google and the federal government, Mnuchin noted many of these major corporations have helped the Department of Defense, but didn’t mention specific names.