Rep. Mike McCaul Launches Review of Commerce Agency Over Export Control Licenses

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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, has initiated a three-month review of the Bureau of Industry and Security within the U.S. Department of Commerce as he seeks a complete accounting of export control licenses that the bureau has granted to China, C4ISRNET reported Monday.

McCaul noted in his Jan. 20 letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that the agency has provided Congress with a snapshot of China export control approvals and denials over a six-month period.

It showed that less than 1 percent [of licenses] were declined and $60 billion went into Huawei and $40 billion went to SMIC,” the lawmaker said.

“We do want a reporting requirement because they never report to the public on export licenses,” stated McCaul. “We want a full accounting of that.”

Findings from the review are expected to inform potential reforms to the export control process of the bureau that oversees the sale of sensitive and dual-use equipment.

The Wall Street Journal reported that since 2020, China’s nuclear weapons research institute has managed to buy semiconductors produced by Intel and Nvidia from resellers despite its inclusion in a U.S. export blacklist stretching back to 1997.

WSJ examined procurement documents and found that the state-owned China Academy of Engineering Physics’ laboratory focused on studying computational fluid dynamics—which involves modeling nuclear blasts—purchased many of those chips.

Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said U.S. and foreign entities should conduct due diligence to prevent software and other technologies from ending up into the hands of institutions included in the entity list.

“As mass-market products move through multiple parties in global supply chains, full visibility on ultimate end users is a large undertaking,” the agency commented.

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