McCaul, Kim: ‘No more U.S.-China working groups; toughen export controls’

U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Young Kim (R-CA) joined two fellow Republicans in denouncing plans by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to establish a working group with the Chinese government to discuss U.S. export controls on advanced semiconductors.

“We believe it is deeply inappropriate for the senior-most U.S. government official in charge of export controls to let the PRC [People’s Republic of China] influence in any manner – including be invited into working groups with China – U.S. national security controls on sensitive technologies,” the members wrote in an Aug. 18 letter sent to Raimondo. “U.S. export control policy towards the PRC should not be up for negotiation, period. Decisions on the nature and scope of U.S. export controls should be taken in Washington, not Beijing.” 

Rep. McCaul sent the letter as chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, in which Rep. Kim serves as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, and they were joined in signing the letter by U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN). 

According to their letter, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and U.S. House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and Chinese Communist Party sent an Aug. 1 letter to Raimondo about another report that the U.S. Department of State is considering removing from the Entity List a PRC entity implicated in human rights abuses in exchange for another working group.

“For years, China has dangled working groups and other dialogue structures in front of U.S. officials as though they were a meaningful concession,” Rep. McCaul, Rep. Kim, and their colleagues wrote. “It is time for U.S. officials to stop taking the bait.”

The lawmakers noted that the PRC has no intention of abandoning its Military-Civil Fusion strategy; no intention of allowing U.S. export compliance officers meaningful access to facilities in China; and no intention of abandoning its whole-of-nation effort to achieve independence from western “chokepoint” technologies.

“It also has no intention of abandoning its aggressive military buildup or its genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” wrote the lawmakers. “And yet, U.S. officials continue to behave as if meaningful progress in U.S.-China relations is one working group away from a breakthrough.”

They urged Raimondo, prior to her trip to China this month, to publicly clarify that U.S. export controls are non-negotiable, and that the PRC should expect more, not less, U.S. export controls moving forward.

“It is time for U.S. officials to accept that China has no intention of abandoning its policies that led to expanded U.S. export controls in the first place,” they wrote.