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After Biden-Xi Meeting, BIS Removes Chinese Science Institute From Entity List

The Bureau of Industry and Security this week removed a Chinese scientific institute from the Entity List that the agency had originally added in 2020 for ties to human rights abuses in Xinjiang (see 2005220058). The move, outlined in a final rule effective Nov. 16, removed the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science of China from the list.

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BIS didn't immediately provide a reason for the removal, and an agency spokesperson referred questions to the White House. The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

The announcement came one day after President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California, where the White House said Biden broached "concerns" about Chinese human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang. "The President emphasized that the United States will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine our own national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment," the White House said.

The Chinese institute was removed from the Entity List after a decision by the interagency End-User Review Committee "pursuant to a removal proposal and review," BIS said. Before being removed, the institute faced a license requirement for all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations with a case-by-case review policy for certain exports, including items "necessary to detect, identify and treat infectious disease." Other items were subject to a presumption of denial review policy.

The Biden administration had been planning to remove the institute from the Entity List in an effort to convince Beijing to help stop the flow of fentanyl to the U.S., Reuters reported this week.

In the readout of the two leaders' meeting, the White House said Biden and Xi agreed to resume working together to "combat global illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking, including synthetic drugs like fentanyl," and established a working group "for ongoing communication and law enforcement coordination on counternarcotics issues." This will help to "reduce the diversion of precursor chemicals and pill presses to drug cartels," the White House said.

Also during their meeting, Xi criticized U.S. export controls, investment reviews and sanctions against Beijing, "which have seriously harmed China's legitimate interests," China's Ministry of Commerce said in a readout, according to an unofficial translation. "Suppressing China's science and technology is to curb China's high-quality development and deprive the Chinese people of their right to development," the agency said, adding that it hopes the U.S. "will take China's concerns seriously, take action, lift unilateral sanctions, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies."

The U.S. decision to remove China's Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science from the Entity List was criticized by Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of Congress' most outspoken critics of U.S. export control policy. McCaul said he was disappointed by what he called a "fruitless" meeting between Biden and Xi.

"The Biden administration made concessions to get this meeting -- only to make more concessions -- including the removal of an organization from the entity list known to conduct human rights abuses," he said.