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GOP calls out Biden’s Alan Estevez as inept, not acting on Chinese threats

A Huawei location in Santa Clara, Calif., on April 19, 2018. (Yichuan Cao/Sipa USA/TNS)
September 15, 2023

A group of House Republican leaders sent a letter Thursday, urging President Joe Biden’s administration to take stronger actions against Huawei Technologies Co. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) due to national security concerns surrounding China’s violation of U.S. export controls.

The letter, sent by House Republicans to Under Secretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Alan Estevez, a career bureaucrat, follows reports that indicate Huawei has developed a smartphone that contains a 7-nanometer chip that supports 5G.

House Republicans say the 7-nanometer chips are produced by SMIC, which is a “Chinese state-owned” company. The letter claims the smartphone is a “blatant violation” of U.S. regulations on export controls.

“We are extremely troubled and perplexed about the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) inability to effectively write and enforce export control rules against violators, especially China,” the lawmakers wrote. “For more than two years, our committees and numerous members of Congress have written you regarding loopholes in BIS rules attempting, unsuccessfully, to restrict technology to Huawei and SMIC, among others.”

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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) led Republican lawmakers in pressuring the Biden administration with the letter. Other GOP lawmakers who signed the letter include the chairs of the House Armed Services Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and elect China committees.

The Republican leaders requested that Biden’s Commerce Department stop providing licenses to companies like SMIC that are controlled by the Chinese government, emphasizing the need for “more effective export controls on our adversaries.”

In the letter, the lawmakers claimed that despite Congress pressuring the Biden administration to “adopt stricter policies,” the BIS has “continued to grant licenses to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled companies, such as SMIC, worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”

“These companies support the CCP’s military and have been responsible for manufacturing semiconductors that power Huawei’s 5G devices, in violation of BIS’ export controls,” Republican lawmakers stated.

In addition to other actions, the letter urged the Biden administration to revoke any existing licenses for both Huawei and SMIC, as well as pursue criminal charges for Huawei and SMIC company executives.