The Department of Commerce’ Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is the most important government agency most Americans have never heard of. Responsible for setting export control policies, enforcing treaty compliance and supporting U.S. technological leadership, the BIS plays a key role in maintaining the balance among U.S. innovation, commerce and national security interests.
This once obscure office has taken on a prominent role as the United States’ competition (and tensions) with China has escalated. As Martijn Rasser and Meghan Lamberth penned recently, “As the enforcer of export controls, [BIS] has become ground zero of the technology competition with China… Export controls, investment reviews, and technology trade restrictions are now key levers in national security strategy.”
President Biden has nominated Alan Estevez and Thea Kendler to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security (BIS Director) and Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, respectively. Collectively, Mr. Estevez and Ms. Kendler bring unparalleled national security experience to BIS at one of the most critical junctures in the agency’s history.
Because the BIS and the U.S. export control regime will be play in a key role in shaping U.S.-China trade policy—and could very well determine the outcome of the United States’ competition with the PRC—China Tech Threat will introduce a series of policy recommendations for BIS and its leadership to focus and strengthen the agency’s agenda, streamline and improve export control policy, and better ensure U.S. national security interests.
China Tech Threat will publish the first paper in the series later this week. Please check back here for more.