BIS Leader Previews New Civil Penalties for Export Control Violations

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Matthew Axelrod, sounded all the right notes at a speech to the Society for International Affairs on May 16th. Recognizing that adversaries like Russia and China advance their own interests at the expense of the United States, Axelrod previewed strengthened civil penalties from BIS designed to deter American firms from violating export control laws. The proposed new penalties include: BIS publicly disclosing which companies it investigates for export control violations when a case opens, not when it is resolved, often years later Forcing companies to admit wrongdoing if they are found to have violated export control laws Increasing financial penalties for violations These ideas are welcome… Read More

China Tech Threat Applauds Confirmation of Alan Estevez to Lead BIS

China Tech Threat applauds the confirmation of Alan Estevez to lead the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is the most important agency most Americans have never heard of. Mr. Estevez brings unprecedented experience to the role with some 30 years in defense, supply chain, and logistics. It has been 5 years since there was a confirmed BIS Director, and 9 months since Mr. Estevez was nominated. The clock has been ticking, and as Mira Ricardel, former Deputy National Security Advisor and BIS Under Secretary for Export Administration, told us, “The only parties that benefit from a lack of senior leadership at BIS are our adversaries.” China Tech Threat Co-Founder Roslyn Layton, PhD welcomed the news… Read More

CTT Conversations: The NVIDIA Hack and the National Security Catastrophe

The hack of NVIDIA has exposed the blueprints of a $580 billion semiconductor juggernaut, putting some of America’s most valuable chip designs at risk of appropriation by Chinese government entities and others. CTT sat down with Dylan Patel, a leading semiconductor industry analyst and Daniel Markus, lead China Task Force staffer to discuss mitigating the impact of this hack. Patel provided an overview of the Nvidia hack and the implications pertaining to Chinese semiconductor firms. Patel explained, “Nvidia’s software is best in class, and hackers have exposed Nvidia’s proprietary designs and put them in the public domain. Now Chinese AI firms and others can kick start their own R&D and catch up with ease… It’s virtually impossible to protect yourself… Read More

Russia Tech Export Restrictions Have A Weakness: No BIS Leader Yet 

The centerpiece of President Biden’s new round of Russia sanctions is a complete embargo on selling semiconductors to Russia. While the sanctions by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will deliver a powerful punch to Russia, they also expose a weakness: BIS, the enforcer of export controls as tools for our national security strategy, has no leader at the top at this critical time.   President Biden nominated Alan Estevez to serve as Undersecretary for Industry and Security seven months ago, but Congress has not yet held a vote to confirm him. This already concerning vacancy at the top of “the most important agency most Americans have never heard of,” creates a glaring hole in the United States’ export control regime, hindering its… Read More