US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said reports of a chip breakthrough by Huawei Technologies Co. are “incredibly disturbing” and emphasized that her department needs more ways to enforce its export-control regime.
(Bloomberg) — US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said reports of a chip breakthrough by Huawei Technologies Co. are “incredibly disturbing” and emphasized that her department needs more ways to enforce its export-control regime.
“We need different tools,” she told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. “We need additional resources around enforcement.”
Raimondo pointed to the Restrict Act, which would expand her department’s authority to review and prevent information and technology transactions that pose national security risks. She declined to comment on progress in Commerce’s probe into a new Huawei smartphone powered by an advanced 7-nanometer chip.
Raimondo said she was proud that earlier this year her department imposed the largest-ever fine in history on an American company for selling items to Huawei without a license. “We’re tough as we need to be, but we need more resources,” she told the committee.
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The hearing marked her second appearance before lawmakers since she traveled to China in late August, a trip designed to improve diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing after months of high tensions. The Huawei phone, which went on sale while she was in China, has set off a debate in Washington over the effectiveness of US attempts to curb China’s technological advancement, with Raimondo caught in the crosshairs.
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Raimondo said during House testimony last month that she sees no evidence China can develop advanced 7-nanometer chips at scale, but she’s still facing intense political pressure from Republicans in Congress to tighten controls — and quickly.
At the same time, the administration is trying to improve ties with Beijing and pave the way to a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a November meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco, a difficult balancing act as they decide whether and when to expand controls announced last October.
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