Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

BIS Preparing to Publish Emerging Tech Controls, Finalizing Internal Review of Foundational Tech ANPRM

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security is preparing to issue several additional export controls over emerging technologies and is finalizing a long-awaited advance notice of proposed rulemaking for foundational technologies, BIS officials said. The emerging technology controls will be released “within the next few weeks,” an official said, while the foundational technology ANPRM will soon be sent for interagency review and for feedback by technical advisory committee members before being publicly released.

The upcoming rules will include controls agreed to at the Australia Group, a multilateral export control body, said Matt Borman, Commerce’s deputy assistant secretary for export administration. The controls will cover rigid-walled, single-use cultivation chambers, precursor chemicals and other items in the biotechnology space (see 2005150048). Borman, speaking during the first meeting of the Emerging Technology Technical Advisory Committee on May 19, also said BIS is preparing controls on six emerging technologies agreed to during the 2019 Wassenaar Arrangement.

BIS’s foundational technology ANPRM, part of a broader effort that has proved “intellectually challenging” (see 1911050052) for Commerce officials, is in the “last stages of review within the bureau,” Rich Ashooh, Commerce’s assistant secretary for export administration, said during the meeting. Ashooh said the ETTAC and other TAC members will review the ANPRM before it is released. “Seeking the input of our experts is part of what we do,” Ashooh said, “and we'll certainly do that in this case.”

Commerce officials expected to release a series of emerging technology controls last year but experienced delays (see 2002040057). The agency’s first ETTAC meeting was also pushed back twice as securing security clearances for members took longer than expected (see 2002240033). Despite the ETTAC delay, Ashooh said BIS has been focused on emerging technology controls. “I don't want you for a minute to think that we haven't been extraordinarily busy in addressing the emerging technology challenge,” he told members, adding that officials have been working normally during the COVID-19 pandemic. “BIS, I'm very proud to say, has not been slowed or hampered by the COVID crisis whatsoever,” Ashooh said. “It was simply not an option for us to slow down or stop at all.”

BIS officials stressed the importance of the ETTAC as the agency works to introduce more controls over emerging technologies. “Something tells me this is going to be a very busy committee,” Ashooh said. BIS Acting Undersecretary Cordell Hull told members that emerging technologies have “been a critical focus area of BIS for several years, and said the ETTAC will play a “critical role” in helping the agency shape controls. “We've got a lot of work to do,” Hull said. “Without overstating it, the U.S. technological leadership and national security are at stake.”