Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Administration to Safeguard Critical Military and Dual-Use Technology from China


In: All News   Posted 05/22/2018
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‘There can be no question that China seeks to surpass the U.S. both economically and militarily and become the world’s foremost superpower, and neither the Federal Government nor private U.S. companies should aid and abet that effort. As such, we implore you to reject any proposal to soften restrictions on the transfer to China of U.S.-made military technologies and advanced dual-use technologies, including semiconductors.’

‘Export control and sanctions laws should not be negotiable, because fidelity to the rule of law is a key part of what distinguishes the U.S. from a country like China that is ruled by a Communist dictatorship.’ 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Angus King (I-ME) sent the following letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the U.S. Trade Representative urging the Administration to protect national security interests when negotiating the U.S.-China trade relationship. Text of the letter is below.

“There can be no question that China seeks to surpass the U.S. both economically and militarily and become the world’s foremost superpower, and neither the Federal Government nor private U.S. companies should aid and abet that effort,” the Senators wrote.  “As such, we implore you to reject any proposal to soften restrictions on the transfer to China of U.S.-made military technologies and advanced dual-use technologies, including semiconductors.”

“We urge you not to compromise lawful U.S. enforcement actions against serial and pre-meditated violators of U.S. law, such as ZTE.  This is particularly critical when the violators are state-owned and -influenced, part and parcel of China’s policies and practices designed to strengthen its own national security innovation base, and essential tools of efforts to spread China’s influence in other countries that pose national security threats to the United States. Export control and sanctions laws should not be negotiable, because fidelity to the rule of law is a key part of what distinguishes the U.S. from a country like China that is ruled by a Communist dictatorship.”

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin       
Secretary of the Treasury             
U.S. Department of the Treasury   
1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW     
Washington, DC  20220              

The Honorable Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce             
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW     
Washington, DC  20230             

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th St., NW       
Washington, DC 20508

 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, and Ambassador Lighthizer:

As you work to secure a fair and equitable trading and investment relationship with China for the American people, we write to express serious concerns over reports that China, in the ongoing negotiations, is pushing for access to U.S.-made military technologies and advanced dual-use technologies.  We strongly support these critical negotiations to rebalance the U.S.-China economic relationship, but U.S. national security must remain the paramount consideration.  Therefore, we strongly urge you to reject any proposal by China to loosen existing restrictions on the export or other transfer of these sensitive U.S. technologies.  Any such move would bolster China’s aggressive military modernization and significantly undermine long-term U.S. national security interests.  

We agree with General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that within seven years, China will pose the greatest threat to U.S. national security of any nation.  Likewise, we concur with the Department of Defense’s most recent report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China,” which states that “China’s military modernization is targeting capabilities with the potential to degrade core U.S. military-technological advantages.  To support this modernization, China uses a variety of methods to acquire foreign military and dual-use technologies . . . .  Several cases emerged in 2016 of China using its intelligence services, and employing other illicit approaches that violate U.S. laws and export controls, to obtain national security and export-restricted technologies, controlled equipment, and other materials.” 

Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party regards these sensitive technologies as essential for China’s military modernization and is accelerating its efforts to acquire such technologies through both legal and illegal means, including cyber theft, civil-military integration policies, coercion through joint ventures with foreign companies, targeted investment, and exploitation of the access of private Chinese nationals to such technologies.  We must guard against such efforts and remain vigilant in protecting our national security innovation base. 

As you know, export controls are designed to protect national security.  The relaxing of these or other technology transfer restrictions would directly contradict and undermine key parts of President Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS).  The NSS states that, “China and Russia . . . are fielding military capabilities designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest our ability to operate freely in critical commercial zones during peacetime.  In short, they are contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor.”

There can be no question that China seeks to surpass the U.S. both economically and militarily and become the world’s foremost superpower, and neither the Federal Government nor private U.S. companies should aid and abet that effort.  As such, we implore you to reject any proposal to soften restrictions on the transfer to China of U.S.-made military technologies and advanced dual-use technologies, including semiconductors.  We do support a balanced and constructive relationship with China, but one that is clear-eyed about China’s predatory, comprehensive efforts to acquire sensitive technologies that would increase the risk China poses to the United States and our allies in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere. 

In addition, we urge you not to compromise lawful U.S. enforcement actions against serial and pre-meditated violators of U.S. law, such as ZTE.  This is particularly critical when the violators are state-owned and -influenced, part and parcel of China’s policies and practices designed to strengthen its own national security innovation base, and essential tools of efforts to spread China’s influence in other countries that pose national security threats to the United States.  Export control and sanctions laws should not be negotiable, because fidelity to the rule of law is a key part of what distinguishes the U.S. from a country like China that is ruled by a Communist dictatorship. 

Thank you for your attention to these concerns. 

Sincerely,

 

CC:  The Honorable James N. Mattis, Secretary of Defense

        The Honorable Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

        The Honorable John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs