Home Warner, Rubio push to prevent China access to sensitive technology, data
Politics, US & World

Warner, Rubio push to prevent China access to sensitive technology, data

Rebecca Barnabi
us china
(© dsom – stock.adobe.com)

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner of Virginia and Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to the Commerce Department stressing the need to prevent adversary access to sensitive technology and genetic data.

Warner and Rubio, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively, wrote to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to express the urgent need to increase the Commerce Department’s actions to protect U.S. critical technologies, including the biotech sector, through a more robust export-control regime, among other measures. The letter follows previous efforts from Warner and Rubio to push the Departments of Treasury and Commerce to counter the flow of U.S. technology and investments to the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s military industrial complex.

“We write to underscore our continued concern that the Department of Commerce has not sufficiently used its existing tools, including export controls, to prevent adversary access to U.S. technology, capital, data, and talent in critical technology sectors,” the senators wrote. 

The letter outlines efforts recently taken by PRC-affiliated biotech companies to undermine U.S. leadership in biotechnology and access sensitive American genetic data, including through the acquisition of an American company, which provides genetic sequencing machines to U.S. laboratories.

“We urge the Commerce Department, in cooperation with the Treasury Department and the Intelligence Community, to take a comprehensive approach to protecting American technology, investment, data, and talent in critical technology sectors, such as biotechnology. Specifically, the Commerce Department should implement an export-control regime—as undertaken with the semiconductor industry—and impose controls on the sharing of American data,” the senators wrote.

In addition to advocating for the implementation of an export-control regime, the senators also committed to supporting any additional legislation to bolster American biosecurity.

“The CCP has openly revealed its intentions to utilize biotechnology to advance its military capabilities and ambitions, undermine U.S. security, and continue its egregious violations of human rights. The U.S. must respond forcefully to these intentions. While the Department has ample authorities to take action, we commit to working with the Department if additional legislation is needed to secure American interests in biosecurity.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.