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Proposed NDAA Amendments Could Increase Export Controls, Sanctions on China

Lawmakers are proposing dozens of export control-, sanctions- and foreign investment-related amendments to the House version of the FY 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including measures aimed at China, Iran and Russia.

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A bipartisan amendment would clarify that the Bureau of Industry and Security has authority to restrict exports of artificial intelligence software to foreign adversaries, especially China. Another would close an export control loophole that has allowed China to use cloud service providers to access advanced U.S. computing chips remotely to develop AI. The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation similar to both amendments last month (see 2405220060 and 2405160062).

A Republican amendment would reverse the Biden administration’s decision last year to remove China’s Institute for Forensic Science (IFS) from the Commerce Department's Entity List (see 2311160003). Commerce took the IFS off the list to encourage China to stop producing and exporting the precursors (see 2311160003). House Republicans had opposed the move, citing the lab’s role in human rights abuses (see 2308030022).

Another Republican amendment would sanction Chinese companies that steal U.S. intellectual property. A bipartisan amendment could lead to sanctions on 49 Hong Kong officials accused of human rights violations.

Measures targeting Iran include a Republican amendment that would impose additional export restrictions and sanctions on Iranian airlines. Another GOP amendment would create a fund to help Homeland Security Investigations enforce oil sanctions on Iran. A bipartisan amendment would require a report on Turkish-Iranian cooperation on sanctions evasion.

Proposals aimed at Russia include a bipartisan amendment that would close a loophole that allows Russian litigants to seek damages in U.S. federal courts from companies that comply with export controls and sanctions. Amendments that are similar to House Foreign Affairs-passed bills would sanction foreign persons who contribute to the construction of a tunnel from Russia to Crimea; sanction Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom; and authorize sanctions on foreign adversaries that support Russia’s defense industrial base, violate U.S. export controls or steal U.S. intellectual property (see 2403210076 and 2405160062).

Some of the amendments already have passed the full House as stand-alone bills and are looking to pass along with the NDAA, which gets enacted into law every year. Among them is a bipartisan proposal to impose property-blocking sanctions on foreign persons who undermine the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the Bosnian War (see 2403190069).

Another previously passed measure would require that certain export licensing disputes be resolved by a majority vote of the government's interagency Operating Committee for Export Policy (see 2403200051). Those disputes are currently resolved by the chair, who is a Bureau of Industry and Security employee.

Other proposed amendments would:

  • prohibit Chinese, Russian, North Korean or Iranian state-owned enterprises from owning a company that operates or manages a U.S. port
  • prohibit foreign adversary investments in U.S. real estate suitable for renewable fuel production
  • require a review of the impact of sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems
  • expand the list of Belarusian authorities who could face U.S. sanctions
  • require the government to create a public database of government-listed entities and people to help businesses streamline their due diligence research
  • give the Defense, Energy and State departments a stronger role in proposing modifications to Commerce's Entity List
  • reject domestic or international efforts to sanction Israel for its “lawful administration” of the Judea and Samaria area, also known as the West Bank
  • designate the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza as a specially designated global terrorist organization
  • designate the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization
  • prohibit the removal of sanctions against the Taliban
  • terminate Pakistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally
  • sanction Venezuelan officials for blocking opposition presidential candidates
  • sanction Haitian political and economic elites involved in criminal activity
  • sanction people responsible for human rights violations against journalists.

House members have proposed more than 1,300 amendments on a wide range of topics. The House Rules Committee will decide which amendments will be considered when the full House takes up the NDAA later this year.