5 Key Takeaways from President Biden’s Export Administrator Nominee

This week the Senate Banking Committee advanced Thea Kendler, President Biden’s nominee to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, for a full Senate confirmation vote later this fall. If confirmed, Ms. Kendler will help shape export control policy, a frontline defense against the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) weaponization of U.S. technologies. Here are five key takeaways from Ms. Kendler’s responses to lawmakers’ Questions for the Record. The PRC’s technological, military and economic rise poses “one of the greatest” threats to U.S. national security.Asked if she agreed, Ms. Kendler wrote, “Yes.” The PRC’s “diversion of dual-use technologies to military uses; theft of intellectual property; human rights abuses; and anti-competitive, unfair and coercive trade practices… threaten our national… Read More

BIS Nominee “Deeply Concerned” about China’s Military-Civil Fusion Threat

By a voice vote on Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee endorsed Alan Estevez and Thea Kendler to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security (BIS) and as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, respectively. The vote advances President Biden’s nominees—who, if confirmed, will play pivotal roles in shaping U.S. export control policy—for consideration by the full Senate this fall. In response to prepared Questions for the Record, Mr. Estevez stated that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) poses “one of our most difficult challenges related to U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, including our ability to maintain U.S. technological leadership in critical areas.” “I am deeply concerned about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) efforts… Read More

Hudson Institute’s Arthur Herman on Decoupling from China

Last week China Tech Threat founder Roslyn Layton sat down with Hudson Institute’s Arthur Herman. They discussed his recently launched Hamilton Commission, the #FutureofBIS and the importance of the U.S decoupling from China and ensuring that companies such as YMTC cannot enter the U.S market. See full discussion below:… Read More

Part II: More Experts Weigh in on Estevez for Top BIS Position

Alan Estevez will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday as the nominee to lead the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) during the Biden administration. What are people saying about his nomination and what that means for the future of BIS? Last week, China Tech Threat published assessments from two risk management experts. Today, we are sharing additional commentary. Coalition for a Prosperous America’s (CPA) Jeff Ferry, who co-authored a paper with China Tech Threat earlier this year on “Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Semiconductors and Countering China’s Threats,” observed of Estevez: The Pentagon has been more aggressive in advocating for U.S. economic strength than any other government department, and Estevez’s 36 years at the Pentagon is good preparation… Read More

Part II: USCC Hearing on Export Controls – Kevin Wolf’s Insight

Late last week China Tech Threat published a blog outlining the testimony given by Jeremy Pelter, Acting Undersecretary and Deputy Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at a U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) hearing entitled “U.S.-China Relations in 2021: Emerging Risks.” While Mr. Pelter gave insight into BIS’ actions from a current leadership position, Kevin Wolf, former BIS official and noted export control lawyer presented another view. Mr. Wolf, a veteran of the bureau, developed the sanctions on ZTE. He is currently an attorney at Akin Gump where he advises clients on regulations related to export administration, arms control, trade, foreign investment, and foreign asset control. In his testimony to USCC, Mr. Wolf offered suggestions on how… Read More

Part I: USCC Hearing on Export Controls – Jeremy Pelter’s Insights

Earlier this week the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission held a hearing entitled “U.S.-China Relations in 2021: Emerging Risks.” In a panel entitled Administration Views on U.S. Export Controls, Jeremy Pelter, Acting Undersecretary and Deputy Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) discussed the growing use of BIS to curb the sale of sensitive technology to China. Mr. Pelter has been serving in a senior capacity at BIS for about 2 years and brings important skills to the role. Mr. Pelter led his testimony by discussing key BIS accomplishments. Most notably, he highlighted that investigations by BIS into China-related transactions have resulted in 226 months of prison time, $1,858,000 in criminal fines, and $4,048,000 in civil penalties so far this year. That compares… Read More

Part I: Risk Management Experts Assess Estevez for Top BIS Position

Alan Estevez was nominated to be the next Undersecretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the Department of Commerce, an important but little-known federal agency responsible for export control, treaty compliance, and leadership in strategic technology. Not a lawyer steeped in the statues of export controls, Estevez is considered an interesting choice for his defense background, the selection of which could signal greater emphasis on security concerns. Notably Estevez won the National Security Medal for his efforts to transform military logistics for the 21st century. Consider this: During Desert Storm, the US military did not have an efficient way to track and locate containers. Hence the supplies in more than half of 40,000 containers went unused, some $2 billion in… Read More

House Hearing on SMEs and National Security: National Security is Paramount

The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the subject of microelectronics and national security. The witnesses included the Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Will Hunt, Semiconductor Industry Association’s David Isaacs, and former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Lisa Porter. The hearing was yet another opportunity to shine light on the critical topic of the U.S semiconductor equipment manufacturing (SME) market and the government’s role in it. However, at China Tech Threat, we were concerned with a variety of comments, most notably from Dr. Porter, that encouraged noninterference in the market, even when national security concerns are of grave consideration for the protection of all Americans.  It appears that Dr. Porter is espousing a view of perfect… Read More

Who’s to blame for “toothless” export controls?

A recent opinion piece by Financial Times Greater China correspondent Kathrin Hille makes some powerful assertions. In “Huawei woes hide ‘toothless’ US export controls against Chinese tech,” she asserts: Huawei’s revenues are in “free fall” from the Entity List designation.The US should not construe this as a victory in its “technology war” with China.Huawei is just one company among many in China. While Huawei is hurting, other Chinese companies are thriving, notably in the semiconductor industry.US policymakers now have a difficult road ahead with export controls because US companies rely on money from China to earn revenue to fund future innovation.Corporate lobbying is slowing down the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) implementation of the 2018 Export Control Reform Act… Read More

CNAS’ New Report Proposes a “whole-of-nation approach” on Tech Competition

Last week the Center for New American Studies (CNAS) published its third report in the series entitled U.S. National Technology Strategy project. The latest report, From Plan to Action: Operationalizing a U.S. National Technology Strategy, “focuses on concrete and pragmatic measures that U.S. policymakers should take to operationalize a national technology strategy.” The executive summary notes “four premises to the security and technology competition” that help inform the paper and the recommendations it offers for policy makers. These include: the utility of industrial policies, the convergence of national and economic security, gaps in knowledge, and the need for international partnerships. From there, CNAS provides four recommendations for the Administration to help build a well-rounded technology policy approach: Bolster the Department… Read More