U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross Highlights Commerce Actions Supporting Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies

In support of the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the Department is fully behind the President’s strategy and has already implemented a number of export controls on emerging technologies. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in Commerce imposed controls on six more emerging technologies, bringing the total to 37.  

“The National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies is a critical roadmap to protecting our national security and ensuring the United States maintains its technological leadership in military, intelligence, and economic matters,” said Secretary Ross. “Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Commerce has already imposed controls on more than three dozen emerging technologies and we will continue to evaluate and identify technologies that warrant control.”

The most recent Commerce controls were implemented under agreements reached at the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies’ December 2019 Plenary meeting. Developing and implementing multilateral controls on emerging technology is consistent with the requirements of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) to identify emerging and foundational technologies that are essential to U.S. national security.

The six emerging technologies now controlled on the Commerce Control List are:

  1. Hybrid additive manufacturing/computer numerically controlled tools
  2. Computational lithography software designed for the fabrication of extreme ultraviolet masks
  3. Technology for finishing wafers for 5 nanometer integrated circuit production
  4. Digital forensics tools that circumvent authentication or authorization controls on a computer and extract raw data
  5. Software for monitoring and analysis of communications and metadata acquired from a telecommunications service provider via a handover interface
  6. Sub-orbital spacecraft

This is the fourth set of emerging technology controls imposed by BIS since ECRA’s 2018 enactment. BIS has previously published three Federal Register Notices implementing new controls on 31 specific emerging technologies in the aerospace, biotechnology, chemical, electronics, encryption, geospatial imagery, and marine sectors, most of which were imposed with multilateral support. They include 24 chemical weapons precursors controlled for Chemical/Biological and Anti-Terrorism reasons as well as:

  1. Discrete microwave transistors
  2. Continuity of operation software
  3. Post-quantum cryptography
  4. Underwater transducers designed to operate as hydrophones
  5. Air-launch platforms
  6. Geospatial imagery software (unilateral)
  7. Single-use biological cultivation chambers

Additionally, in accordance with ECRA, BIS requested public comment on the identification of foundational technologies on August 27, 2020, and the public comment period remains open until November 9, 2020.