Commerce secretary tightens restrictions on military technology exports

Greg Nash

The Commerce Department announced Monday that it is tightening export controls on technology that could have military uses, citing countries like China and Russia.

“It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

“Certain entities in China, Russia, and Venezuela have sought to circumvent America’s export controls, and undermine American interests in general, and so we will remain vigilant to ensure U.S. technology does not get into the wrong hands,” he added.

The new controls are aimed at limiting China’s military equipment from obtaining semiconductor production equipment, Reuters reported.

The Commerce Department directed The Hill to the texts of the changes when asked about that report.

The new export controls target technology acquired by the countries deemed national security threats through civilian supply chains.

The rule change will expand military end-use requirements for China, Russia and Venezuela and remove license exceptions for civilians in those countries.

Commerce proposed a related rule change that would force foreign companies shipping certain American goods to China to first seek approval from the U.S. as well as their home nations.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), an outspoken China hawk and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised the rule changes announced Monday.

“This rule is grounded in two basic truths: Modern war is high tech and China’s so-called ‘private sector’ is fake,” the Nebraska lawmaker said in a statement. “Chairman Xi has erased any daylight between China’s businesses and the communist party’s military. We didn’t win the Cold War by selling cruise missiles to the Soviets, and we’re not going to beat China by selling semiconductors to the People’s Liberation Army. These rules are long overdue.”

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Tags Ben Sasse China Commerce Department export controls Military technology Russia Venezuela Wilbur Ross

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