And, it’s Chinese, of course.

The United States House of Representatives passed a ban on the future sale of DJI drones in the U.S. on Friday, making the DJI ban more likely than not. The “Countering CCP Drones Act” is part of the United States’ 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (FY25 NDAA), a major piece of yearly legislation allotting defense spending for the coming year.

Drone maker DJI is based in China and controls over 70% of the world’s drone market share, a combination that threatens U.S. lawmakers


DJI has 90% market share of the U.S. hobby market, 70% market share of the industrial market and over 80% market share of the first responder market. And their main competitor is Autel Robotics which… is also a Chinese company

(my emphasis)

As I noted years ago, what’s going to happen, er, is happening, is the world splitting into two trade blocs. Problem is the Western bloc is smaller, economically and in terms of land mass, than the one led by China and Russia, which includes a big chunk of Africa and South America, in addition, and which is growing.

Now bans and tariffs aren’t automatically bad. They can give space to domestic industry to compete. China’s “overcapacity” is the result of a lower cost structure and, in many areas, fierce competition. There are twenty-two significant drone manufacturers on this list, for example, and there are hundreds more.

To compete, the US needs to create a competitive market again, and it needs to reduce its cost structure. The simplest ways to do that would be to reduce housing and medical costs; to enforce anti-trust laws vigorously and to reduce barriers to entry for new businesses.

But part of the problem is simple: the US market is no longer as big as the one China has access to. For a long time, access to the American market was what mattered, but that’s no longer the case. The US, and the West in general, has to catch up, and they have to do so in an environment where they are the underdogs. This reality doesn’t seem to have penetrated thru to policy makers—if it had, they wouldn’t still think that sanction after sanction does significant damage to China or Russia, or almost anyone else.

But, with an oligarchy and a commitment to neoliberal “crush wages and workers and embrace austerity” ideology, the West is damaging its internal demand and markets at the same time as it needs those markets to catch up.

The USSR lost to the West for fairly simple reasons, and the main was that the West had more industrial base and more population. Now the shoe is on the other foot. It’s not likely to work out better for us than it did for the Soviets.