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Biden Administration Urged by Lawmakers to Implement Stricter Regulations on Chinese Technology

Republican lawmakers are criticizing the Biden administration for not doing enough to enforce restrictions on China’s access to American technology, particularly in regards to semiconductors. They stated that the administration had not taken adequate measures to limit the sales of advanced technology to China, such as advanced chips and chip-making equipment, despite increasing restrictions on sales in recent years. Lawmakers faulted the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security for being too close to the technology industries it regulates and expressed concerns about the Department’s funding and practices.

However, the Biden administration defended its actions, with a spokesman for the Bureau of Industry and Security stating that the administration had been thoughtful and vigorous in expanding restrictions, adding more than 1,100 parties to a restricted trade list, including over 300 firms and organizations in China.

Semiconductor companies have pushed back against the restrictions, arguing that overly broad controls could push China to develop its own technologies to undercut American industry leadership.

Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, highlighted the need for funding to complete the mission of building a more muscular Commerce Department to take on China, including issuing historic controls that denied an entire country specific technologies. However, several Republican lawmakers said they would withhold funding increases until the department changed its practices and moved forward with additional sanctions on Chinese companies like Huawei.

The report also recommended a series of overhauls, including giving Defense Department officials a greater say in the approval of special licenses to supply technology to China. The House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to seek bipartisan support for the changes.

The fight over the Bureau of Industry and Security has grown more intense as its responsibilities have escalated in recent years, putting a spotlight on the agency’s staffing, technology, and database shortcomings. Critics argue that the demands on the bureau have exploded after the Biden administration placed controls on China and the agency needs to have robust capacity.

The Bureau of Industry and Security has stated that it works closely with other government officials to carefully review licenses for sales to China, but some China critics believe that Biden officials have not gone far enough to restrain some of China’s most advanced firms.

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