Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wrote a letter to the Biden Administration last week to request the use of existing tools and authorities to prevent the flow of U.S. innovation to China’s military.
Warner, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rubio, vice chair of the committee, expressed their concern over the flow of U.S. innovation, talent and capital into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as the nation seeks to control global supply chains, achieve technological superiority and rise as the dominant economic and military power in the world.
Their letters also stress the need for authorities at the government’s disposal to protect U.S. interests and ensure that American businesses, investors and consumers are not inadvertently advancing China’s authoritarian interests or supporting its ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and human rights abuses in Tibet and Hong Kong.
“It is widely known that the PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) program targets technological advancements in the U.S., as well as university and research partnerships with the U.S., for the PRC’s military development. U.S. technology, talent, and capital continue to contribute — through both lawful and unlawful means, including theft — to the PRC’s development of critical military-use industries, technologies, and related supply chains. The breadth of the MCF program’s ambitions and reach creates dangerous vulnerabilities for U.S. national and economic security as well as undermines respect for democratic values globally,” the Senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The asked several questions about the Treasury’s internal Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) lists, which exclude a number of entities and individuals who have been identified by the U.S. Government as posing national security risks or human rights concerns.
“Despite recent restrictions on the export of sensitive technologies critical to U.S. national security, we remain deeply concerned that American technology, investment, and talent continue to support the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) military industrial complex, intelligence and security apparatus, its ongoing genocide, and other PRC efforts to displace United States economic leadership. As such, we urge the Department of Commerce to immediately use its authorities to more broadly restrict these activities,” the Senators wrote to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
The Senators requested answers from Raimondo about America’s most critical high-technology sectors, the Department’s ability and authority to evaluate companies’ reliance on China and assess the flow of U.S. innovation to PRC entities.