Be on the Lookout, Stricter License Requirements Expected for Chinese Military; Review the New Emerging Technologies and Send Your Comments to BIS!

Chinese Military End Users Targeted in Commerce Regulatory Agenda

On November 16, 2018, the Department of Commerce published its Fall 2018 Semiannual Agenda of Regulations (83 FR 57998).  In addition to various entries for other parts of the department, it includes an announcement that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) plans to expand license requirements for export, reexports, and transfers (in country) to military end users in the People’s Republic of China.  Currently, Section 744.21 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) imposes license requirements on such transactions when the item is intended for a “military end use” in China or a “military end user” in Russia or Venezuela.  The change would likely expand licensing requirements for China to match current requirements for Russia and Venezuela and make other changes, including to EAR “Reasons for Control” and Automated Export System (AES) filing requirements.  A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is anticipated in February 2019.

Comments Requested on Emerging Technologies

This summer’s Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) directed the Department of Commerce, along with Defense, Energy, and State, to identify “emerging and foundational technologies” that may warrant export controls to include CFIUS review and export licensing.

Proceeding with this review, the Department of Commerce published a notice (83 FR 58201) on November 19, 2018 requesting comments on emerging technologies that are essential to national security due to “potential conventional weapons, intelligence collection, weapons of mass destruction, or terrorist applications” or that may provide the U.S. “qualitative military or intelligence advantage.”

The notice includes the following representative list of technologies currently controlled by the EAR, but with limited licensing requirements:

(1) Biotechnology, such as:

(i) Nanobiology;
(ii) Synthetic biology;
(iv) Genomic and genetic engineering; or
(v) Neurotech.

(2) Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, such as:

(i) Neural networks and deep learning (e.g., brain modelling, time series prediction, classification);
(ii) Evolution and genetic computation (e.g., genetic algorithms, genetic programming);
(iii) Reinforcement learning;
(iv) Computer vision (e.g., object recognition, image understanding);
(v) Expert systems (e.g., decision support systems, teaching systems);
(vi) Speech and audio processing (e.g., speech recognition and production);
(vii) Natural language processing (e.g., machine translation);
(viii) Planning (e.g., scheduling, game playing);
(ix) Audio and video manipulation technologies (e.g., voice cloning, deepfakes);
(x) AI cloud technologies; or
(xi) AI chipsets.

(3) Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology.

(4) Microprocessor technology, such as:

(i) Systems-on-Chip (SoC); or
(ii) Stacked Memory on Chip.

(5) Advanced computing technology, such as:

(i) Memory-centric logic.

(6) Data analytics technology, such as:

(i) Visualization;
(ii) Automated analysis algorithms; or
(iii) Context-aware computing.

(7) Quantum information and sensing technology, such as

(i) Quantum computing;
(ii) Quantum encryption; or
(iii) Quantum sensing.

(8) Logistics technology, such as:

(i) Mobile electric power;
(ii) Modeling and simulation;
(iii) Total asset visibility; or
(iv) Distribution-based Logistics Systems (DBLS).

(9) Additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing);

(10) Robotics such as:

(i) Micro-drone and micro-robotic systems;
(ii) Swarming technology;
(iii) Self-assembling robots;
(iv) Molecular robotics;
(v) Robot compliers; or
(vi) Smart Dust.

(11) Brain-computer interfaces, such as

(i) Neural-controlled interfaces;
(ii) Mind-machine interfaces;
(iii) Direct neural interfaces; or
(iv) Brain-machine interfaces.

(12) Hypersonics, such as:

(i) Flight control algorithms;
(ii) Propulsion technologies;
(iii) Thermal protection systems; or
(iv) Specialized materials (for structures, sensors, etc.).

(13) Advanced Materials, such as:

(i) Adaptive camouflage;
(ii) Functional textiles (e.g., advanced fiber and fabric technology); or
(iii) Biomaterials.

(14) Advanced surveillance technologies, such as:

Faceprint and voiceprint technologies.

*(1)(iii) was omitted in the published notice.

Comments are requested on how to define emerging technology, control criteria, and other relevant information.  Comments may be submitted until December 19, 2018.  Please see the Federal Register Notice for more information.  A separate notice is planned for “foundational technologies.”

(None of the information is intended to be authoritative official or professional legal advice. Consult your own legal counsel or compliance specialists before taking actions based upon this blog or other unofficial sources.)