Sen. Hawley Targets Tech Exports to China

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced the China Technology Transfer Control Act of 2019. It is the latest tech initiative by a freshman senator who has made Big Tech his signature issue.

The bill, which comes as the President is levying new tariffs on China, is meant to "stop the Chinese military’s acquisition of sensitive American technology," said Hawley's office in announcing the bill, as well as to "formally admonish China for its predatory trade practices."

Related: Sen. Hawley Blasts Social Media As Unproductive Peril

The bill:

Admonishes China for IP theft and "manipulation of lawful transfer and uses of technology in ways that directly support its military objectives and threaten the United States."

Places all “core technologies” on the Department of Commerce’s export control List, meaning companies have to get licenses to export them to China. Those technologies include artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, advanced construction equipment and lithium battery manufacturing.

Imposes sanctions on foreign entities that transfer those “core technologies” to China.

“It’s time to acknowledge that China acts more like an adversary than a friend,” said Hawley. “For too long, China has exploited American innovation to undermine our values and threaten our security. This legislation is an important step toward keeping American technology out of the hands of the Chinese government and its military.”

Hawley cites as an example of companies helping out China Google's effort to access the Chinese market by working on a censored search engine with a Chinese company.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.