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Washington, D.C. – Last week, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reissuing his longstanding oversight requests on the Bureau of Industry Security’s (BIS) export controls, which are responsible for preventing the transfer of sensitive technology to any entities influenced or controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). BIS has failed to provide requested documents to the committee despite a clear legal obligation to do so. In the event of continued noncompliance, the committee will use the authorities available to it to enforce these requests as necessary, including through compulsory process. On Thursday, Chairman McCaul and Secretary Raimondo discussed how to ensure CHIPS grants are awarded without delay and with proper oversight. The two also agreed on the urgent need to address U.S. technology and capital that is supporting the CCP’s military and human rights abuses.

“Export controls, currently under the authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), are critical to safeguarding U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.” wrote Chairman McCaul. “BIS’s dereliction in providing basic transparency and accountability is a contributing factor for my forthcoming 90-day review.”

 

The full text of the letter can be found here or below. 

Dear Secretary Raimondo: 

I write to reissue the enclosed requests sent prior to the 118th Congress in furtherance of the legislative branch’s constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch. Please provide all documents, information, and any other request contained within them no later than January 27, 2023.

Export controls, currently under the authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), are critical to safeguarding U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. The United States needs a whole-of-government approach to protect sensitive and military-useful technology from foreign adversaries, such as the People’s Republic of China.

BIS, however, has failed to uphold its legal obligation to produce requested documents and information pursuant to the Export Control Reform Act of 2018, which states, “[a]ny information obtained at any time under any provision of the Export Administration Act of…under the Export Administration Regulations, or under this part…shall be made available to a committee or subcommittee of Congress of appropriate jurisdiction, upon the request of the chairman or ranking minority member of such committee or subcommittee.”

For example, in response to a November 9, 2020 request for licensing data, BIS has only produced one small tranche of documents to date in May 2021 – more than six months after the initial request – and provided nothing further since then.

BIS’s dereliction in providing basic transparency and accountability is a contributing factor for my forthcoming 90-day review. A principal objective for this review is to determine if the Department of Commerce should continue to lead implementation of the export control system.

It is vital that the Commerce Department provide complete and expeditious responses to these requests. The initial deadlines for the enclosed letters passed long ago – in some cases more than a year – without acceptable responses. In the event of noncompliance, the Committee will use the authorities available to it to enforce these requests as necessary, including through compulsory process.

I look forward to your prompt responses.

 

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