WSJ: House Republicans Tell Commerce Dept. to Get Tougher on China

According to an article published today in the Wall Street Journal, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are continuing to apply pressure to the Commerce Department to fortify export controls.

In a letter led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and a group of top Republicans called for the “strengthening of export controls on semiconductors.” Signers included all other members of the China Task Force, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Andy Barr (R-KY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Robert J. Wittman (R-VA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Mark Green (R-TN), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Austin Scott (R-GA), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Young Kim (R-CA).

This follows a move this month by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee to hold up confirmation of Alan Estevez, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Commerce unit in charge of export controls, the Bureau of Industry and Security.

China Tech Threat has been following Mr. Estevez’s nomination closely and has called for the Biden Administration to fill the position swiftly. In their letter, the House Republicans backed the hold on Mr. Estevez until, they said, Ms. Raimondo acts on their requests because “these actions are critical to stemming the flow of technology into our foremost foreign adversary.”

In their letter to Ms. Raimondo, the Congressmen signaled frustration with Commerce’s failure to create lists of “emerging and foundational” U.S. technologies designated for safeguarding as mandated by a 2018 law, according to the Wall Street Journal. Further, the lawmakers called on the department to further restrict exports to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest chipmaker.

This is not the first time Rep. McCaul in particular has urged the Commerce Department to get tougher as it relates to China. In fact, over the summer, he and Sen. Hagerty urged Secretary Raimondo to add YMTC to the entity list, describing it as “the PRC state-owned national champion for memory chips with ties to the CCP military.”

It is imperative the administration continues to apply pressure and use a full range of tools at the country’s disposal to ensure the privacy, security, and prosperity of all Americans. To read more about export controls, Commerce’s role, and Mr. Estevez, please see China Tech Threat’s website