KEY POINTS

  • The U.S. Commerce Department is finalizing rules that will limit the export of sensitive American technologies, such as 3D printing, abroad
  • The U.S. government is concerned China and other adversarial governments could exploit American technologies and harm U.S. national security
  • The Pentagon has previously accused China of stealing foreign technologies to bolster its military

The U.S. Commerce Department is finalizing rules to limit the export of sensitive technologies to other countries such as China, due to concerns over national security, a document seen by Reuters revealed.

The five rules restrict exports of technologies such as 3D printing and quantum computing so that adversarial governments do not use these tools against the U.S. 

“Based on their titles, the rules appear to be narrowly tailored to address specific national security issues, which should go a long way to calming the nerves of those in industry concerned that the administration would impose controls over broad categories of widely available technologies,” said Kevin Wolf, former assistant secretary of commerce for export administration. 

Before the rules are implemented, they will be analyzed by international bodies. Lawmakers, such as Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, have criticized the Commerce Department for not moving fast enough with the regulations. 

“While bureaucrats and industry shills twiddle their thumbs, the Chinese Communist Party continues to purchase sensitive U.S. technologies with clear military applications,” Cotton said. “I will be digging deep into the Commerce Department’s actions.”

The Pentagon released a report in May suggesting China uses "cybertheft" of foreign technology in order to build the Chinese military. 

"China is actively pursuing an intensive campaign to obtain foreign technology," the report said, accusing Beijing of "industrial and cyberespionage." 

The United States initiated a blacklist of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in May due to national security concerns. The blacklist prohibits U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei, but the U.S. government will provide exceptions for some American companies on a case-by-case basis. 

The U.S. has also attempted to persuade foreign governments against allowing Huawei onto their 5G networks as they believe this could give the Chinese government a backdoor to sensitive U.S. information.