Warner, colleagues urge Trump administration to protect American technology from China

congressU.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) joined a group of bipartisan senators in sending a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, urging the Trump administration to protect national security interests when negotiating the U.S.-China trade relationship. This comes after President Trump has publicly pledged to lift a seven-year ban on American firms doing business with Chinese telecom company ZTE.

“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 senators concluded.

As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner has publicly voiced his concern that rolling back trade restrictions on Chinese telecom company ZTE would pose significant national security risks to the United States. Last week, Sen. Warner joined a group of 34 Senators urging President Trump not reverse trade restrictions on ZTE.

In addition to Sen. Warner, the letter was signed by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), 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), 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)