US eases export restrictions to China over standards concerns

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has relaxed restrictions on sharing “low-level” technology and software with companies like Huawei, which is currently blacklisted by the United States, in order to maintain the nation’s dominant position in international standards. Negotiation.

The US restricted Huawei’s access to major US suppliers in 2019 by Adding the Chinese company and several of its non-US subsidiaries to the entity blacklist.

However, the move has also forced US companies to scale back their involvement in standards-related activities at a time when Chinese companies are playing an increasing role in technical committees that control how technology is developed and used around the world.

Several US companies have told the Biden administration that they are confused about whether they should obtain a license before sharing “low-level” technology during standards discussions.

Several industry leaders and cybersecurity experts have warned that the restrictions will threaten national security by discouraging participation in international standards organizations.

The US is also concerned that China is developing standards, via companies like Huawei, that would benefit authoritarian regimes. for example, Huawei The new floating IP in 2020, which enables centralized control of networks.

As part of its strategy to implement IPv6 across the country, the Chinese government has made contributing to networking standards a top priority.

The United States wants to ensure that it can exercise dominance in all standards bodies, and it justifies this position by saying that it is necessary to ensure that the values ​​of liberal democracies and open markets are embedded in technology.

Since adding Huawei to its blacklist, the US has made an effort to allow participation in the standards by providing a temporary broad license and identifying companies and technologies that do not need their consent in order to participate.

The revised rule goes further, and has received positive feedback from industry influencers.

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the new regulations are intended to allay any remaining concerns about working with Entity List groups in “standards-related activities”.

“American stakeholders need to be fully involved in international standards organizations, especially when the critical but sometimes invisible standards they set have significant national security as well as commercial implications,” said Alan Estevez, the Commerce Department’s undersecretary for industry and security, He said in the statement.

He added that the updated guidelines give US industry and other organizations much-needed clarity, allowing continued US leadership in these vital bodies.

BIS solicits feedback on an updated rule that defines “activity related to standards” as “the activities required to develop, adopt or implement a standard, where there is an intention to publish the resulting standard.”

This comment period will last for the next 60 days.

“International standards serve as building blocks for product development and help ensure functionality, interoperability, and product safety,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Management Thea Roseman Kindler.

“Today’s rule continues to prevent technology transfers that harm our national security while ensuring that US companies fully participate and lead in developing standards. In addition to consulting with our interagency partners to craft this rule, I want to especially thank the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for sharing their experiences.”

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