Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Scott, and other members of the Committee. Thank you for asking me to testify again. I am happy to help the Committee with its oversight role however I can. Although I am now a partner in the international trade group at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and a non-resident Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, the views I express today are my own. I am not advocating for or against any potential changes to legislation or regulations on behalf of another. Rather, as requested, I am providing a description of current export control policy in historical context with recommendations for how to make export controls more effective, particularly with respect to issues involving China and Russia, and less counterproductive. My views are influenced by my 30 years of work in the area, which includes my service as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration during the Obama Administration.
Summary of Recommendations
My primary recommendations to the Committee for making, through legislation or oversight, export controls more effective and less counterproductive, particularly with respect to issues involving China and Russia, are the following:
- Support Administration efforts to work with the allies to develop and articulate together a significantly expanded vision for export controls to address contemporary common strategic security and human rights issues that are outside the scopes of the existing post-Cold-War-era multilateral export control regimes.
- To ensure that such a vision can be implemented and updated in domestic regulations and policies over the long-term, support Administration efforts to create a new multilateral export control regime to identify:
- items of classical non-proliferation and conventional military concerns that cannot be addressed by the existing regimes given Russia’s membership;
- items outside the scopes of the existing regimes’ mandates that warrant strategic trade controls, particularly with respect to China and Russia;
- items used to commit human rights abuses anywhere in the world; and
- unlisted items to, and activities in support of, end uses and end users of concern to enhance the effectiveness of such controls.
- Support Administration efforts to work with the allies to create and announce in 2023 standards describing the legal authorities and resources necessary for an allied country’s export control agencies to (i) control such items and activities, and (ii) effectively enforce such controls.
- Once such standards are developed, even in draft, support Administration efforts to work with allied legislatures and executive branches to create for their export control agencies such authorities and resources to enable the quick and effective creation of plurilateral controls over items and activities to address contemporary common security and human rights issues.
- Echo in a regular and bipartisan way that a new regime, the proposed new way of thinking about strategic export controls, and the creation of new legal authorities in allied countries are in the common security interests of the allies. To help overcome the current allied skepticism of these ideas, make it clear that the ideas are not part of a mercantilistic plan to advantage US companies to the economic detriment of allied country companies. To enhance this message, create incentives and benefits, such as significant reductions in unnecessary trade barriers and increased market access opportunities, for allied participants in a new regime and plurilateral strategic trade control arrangements.
- Support Administration efforts to work with the allies to create formal export control-focused and dramatically better-resourced data mining, investigation, and enforcement coordination efforts, with particular attention to global distributor and re-seller networks. New rules without robust data analysis and enforcement are wildly less effective.
- As part of the AUKUS initiative, Congress should support and encourage Administration efforts to radically simplify and harmonize defense and dual-use trade rules by and among the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, and, later, other very close allies.
- In addition to providing the Administration with all the resources necessary to implement these recommendations, require the Administration to create within the departments of Commerce or State a senior position, with all the necessary expertise, staff, and resources, to devote their full-time and attention to doing the hard, time-consuming work with the allies necessary to help the US export control agencies convert these recommendations into actual regulations, policies, and arrangements.
- Similar to what the Treasury Department is doing with respect to sanctions, and to better implement section 4811(3)1 of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA), Congress should fund the creation of a Commerce Department office focused on studying and regularly reporting to Congress on the effectiveness of old and new export controls, and identifying those that are counterproductive for US industry and national security and foreign policy objectives.