The Biden administration is facing new pressure to combat China from swiping American tech via fresh concerns raised by the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Sens. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, and Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, wrote to the leadership of the Commerce Departments and the Treasury requesting the agencies expand their tools and authorities to stop China from benefiting from American tech, personnel and cash.
The letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo were made public on Tuesday by Mr. Warner, the intelligence committee chairman, and Mr. Rubio, the committee’s top-ranking Republican.
“We remain deeply concerned that U.S. technology and investment continue to flow into the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) companies to effectively enhance the capabilities of the PRC’s military and to perpetuate its ongoing genocide in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” the senators wrote to Ms. Yellen. “As such, we urge the Department of the Treasury to take immediate action to use its existing authorities to address these activities, which contradict U.S. national and economic interests.”
China’s policies of civil-military fusion compel its country’s businesses to work with the communist regime, which has engaged in industrial espionage to steal Americans’ intellectual property and data.
The senators expressed concern that China has benefited from taking American tech through both lawful and unlawful means.
They requested Ms. Yellen explain her department’s actions to thwart China, including questioning why the Treasury Department had not put restrictions on companies that the Department of Defense identified as Chinese military companies.
To Ms. Raimondo, the lawmakers asked her to assess the extent to which tech has been transferred to China. Mr. Warner and Mr. Rubio questioned whether the Commerce Department had challenged any academic institution or commercial entity that sought to use exemptions to skirt American rules about the use and operation of various tech.
“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,” the senators wrote to Ms. Raimondo. “As such, we urge the Department of Commerce to immediately use its authorities to more broadly restrict these activities.”
The Departments of Commerce and Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment.