Two senators are urging the Department of Commerce to further restrict exports to China to protect “American technology, investment, and talent.”

In a Feb. 9 letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Sens. Mark Warner, R-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said a May 2022 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing highlighted China’s “deliberate and calculated efforts to achieve technological superiority and exert control over global supply chains—by all means necessary—with the ultimate goal of displacing the U.S. as the globally dominant economic and military power.” Since that hearing the Biden administration has put more Chinese companies on the Entity List and the Unverified List, imposed broad new controls on exports to China of advanced computing and semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and issued a national security strategy establishing China as the United States’ top competitor.

However, Warner and Rubio said that U.S. technology, talent, and capital continue to enable companies and research institutions connected to China’s army, including those developing advanced technologies, and that they want to ensure that U.S. businesses, investors, and consumers “are not knowingly or unknowingly aiding [China’s] autocratic regime, nor advancing its expansionist and aggressive geopolitical ambitions and genocide in Xinjiang.”

The senators therefore asked the DOC to provide them with information on the department’s enforcement of existing export controls. This includes the number of end-use checks the DOC conducted over the last four years in China, including the technologies subject to those checks, and any challenges with thoroughly and effectively conducting such checks. They also want to know which Chinese companies on the Entity List are subject to an export license review policy of “case-by-case” or “presumption of approval” rather than “presumption of denial.”

Further, the two lawmakers urged the DOC to “immediately use its authorities to more broadly restrict” activities of concern. Based on the nature of the questions posed, they are particularly interested in new export controls on emerging and foundational technologies not already controlled that are associated with the top five most critical high-technology sectors across the U.S. economy.

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