U.S. Controls Over Foreign Access to and Influence on Technology and Research in 2020: A Quick Guide U.S. companies, academic and research institutions, and individuals are facing greater scrutiny and regulation of their activities with foreign parties involving U.S. technology and…
With the passage of the NDAA for FY 2021, we are reminded that the United States views as an issue of “great power competition” China’s financial and infrastructure diplomacy, particularly China’s lending to developing nations and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Congress provided a reminder of the United States’ concerns as to China’s cross-border lending and the BRI. The massive annual defense spending legislation includes two provisions directly on point.
After the 2016 Presidential election, MassPoint PLLC published five issues to watch in 2017 (and beyond). We revisit our predictions on the five issues, which we expect to remain watch-worthy under the Biden Administration.
We expect that with respect to U.S.-China trade and emerging technologies disputes and competition, the Biden Administration will take a more comprehensive, coordinated, and multilateral approach, relying more on joint action and shared objectives with Congress (where there is bipartisan consensus on key China matters) and U.S. allies, particularly in Europe and Asia. That said, the proximity of the January 11, 2021 operational date will likely require the incoming administration to ensure that any abandonment of or departures from the Executive order are framed in a compelling strategic and policy terms, so as to, at minimum, avoid exposure to claims from some quarters that the next president is “soft on China.”
The United States has targted a Belt& Road project with Global Magnitsky Sanctions. The move is significant, and might signal a ratcheting up of U.S. opposition to the BRI, which has largely comprised rhetoric, diplomatic lobbying, and relatively tepid competition, such as by the establishment of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
The Treasury Department’s announcement of the sanctions speaks to the foreign policy and geostrategic significance of the UDG sanctions action. The release speaks of China’s “malign” investment in Cambodia, its use of the UDG projects in Cambodia to “advance ambitions to project power globally,” “disproportionality benefit” itself through BRI projects, and concerns that the Dara Kakor project “could be converted to “host military assets.” The Treasury Department’s language echoes U.S. concerns about the BRI and other Chinese international project financing activities, including that China engages in “debt trap” financing.
On August 14, President Trump ordered ByteDance to divest its assets and interests in TikTok. What happens if ByteDance does not comply? The question may seem academic, given historical compliance with divestment orders and ByteDance’s talks with U.S. companies about TikTok’s sale. But a recent legal move by China—its expansion of a list of technologies that require government approval for export, including apparently in a sale of TikTok—renders real the issue of non-compliance with the August 14 divestment order, and potentially raises unprecedented issues.
General License K authorizes, until 12:01 eastern time on December 20, 2019 (essentially, through the end of December 19 eastern time), the above-listed prohibited transactions where they directly or indirectly involve Cosco or entities owned 50% by Cosco and are “ordinarily incident and necessary to the maintenance or wind down of transactions.”
MassPoint Legal and Strategy Advisory's Hdeel Abdelhady spoke about FARA enforcement mechanisms, recent and historical enforcement, recent developments and their implications, and questions that might arise in the near future. Ms. Abdelhady's presentation materials are provided here as a resource.
The September 1 tariffs effective date is close in time to the expiration of the Temporary General License partially easing restrictions on Huawei. The state of U.S.-China trade talks around the expiry of the 90-day license may influence further actions. U.S. and foreign companies subject to export controls should be mindful of the potential links.