The FCC Makes a Statement: Support Taiwan, Fortify U.S. National Security, and Ban Invasive Chinese Tech

This week, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr visited Taiwan to participate in meetings with Taiwanese government officials. This is the first time that a FCC Commissioner has visited Taiwan and the fourth U.S. delegation over the last several months. This U.S. delegation trip to Taiwan reinforces the importance of U.S.-Taiwanese relations as economic, strategic, and tech partners against China.

According to Axios, Commissioner Carr “hopes his visit sends a strong message that ‘a free and democratic Taiwan — one that is independent from the [Chinese Communist Party]’s brutal authoritarianism — is vital to America’s own prosperity.’ He added that Taiwan’s chip industry is also important to American interests and economic growth.”

This trip is the latest addition to a list of the FCC’s ongoing China-related activities. Last month, there was an Axios report that the FCC was preparing “to ban all sales of new Huawei and ZTE telecommunications devices in the U.S. — as well as some sales of video surveillance equipment from three other Chinese firms — out of national security concerns, sources with direct knowledge of the private deliberation.”  

Additionally, Commissioner Carr has called for the U.S. to ban TikTok over national security and data privacy concerns, stating:

“There simply isn’t ‘a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].’”

He’s right. To underscore that point, CTT led a coalition letter in support of the bipartisan, bicameral Secure Equipment Act of 2021, which empowers the FCC to restrict equipment authorizations to companies on the agency’s Covered List. Last year, we were honored to have Commissioner Carr joined our event discussing the Covered List, which remains a necessary policy measure to protect Americans’ privacy and security. He stated, “DJI is ‘Huawei on wings. Most people don’t understand the vast amounts of information being collected by drones.” Ultimately, a whole of government effort is needed.

With that in mind, the FCC’s China push aligns with efforts from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), specifically new export controls targeting Chinese chipmakers, including the state-subsidized chipmaker YMTC. CTT released a memo outlining five key areas that policymakers, analysts, and media should follow as BIS implements these new export controls targeting China, especially within the initial 60-day window that ends on December 6.

The FCC and Commissioner Carr are right that the U.S. must continue to take actions that safeguards U.S. national security, fortifies relationship with allies, and, ultimately, counter China tech threats.

We’ll be talking about these efforts during a live virtual event on November 15: “Countdown to the Entity List – New Export Controls Spell Trouble for YMTC, Implications for Apple.” Join us to hear from Nazak Nikakhtar, former Department of Commerce CFIUS lead; Dustin Carmack, Heritage Foundation Research Fellow; and more speakers to be announced.