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Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Update Conference

Thank you, Under Secretary Estevez, for that introduction, and for your leadership of the Bureau of Industry and Security. I’d also like to thank the Office of Exporter Services for putting on this conference, and the entire BIS team for the hard work they do.

Welcome to the 35th Annual Update Conference on Export Controls and Policy. It’s wonderful to be back in person.

Much has changed since our last conference in September 2021. Russia launched a brutal and unjustified assault on Ukraine. The competition between democracy and autocracy remains very real and very serious.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Building a Network of Global Cooperation,” and that’s exactly what we did to respond to Russia. Working with 37 advanced economies, we galvanized unprecedented global coordination on export controls, which are working because of that tremendous cooperation.

Since the controls were put in place, global exports of semiconductors to Russia from all sources have declined by almost 90 percent, leaving Russian companies without the chips they need for a wide variety of goods, including weapons like precision guided missiles and tanks.

And the aerospace controls we put in place are restricting Russia’s ability to generate revenue, resupply, and support its military aviation sector. Russia may be forced to ground between half and two-thirds of its commercial aircraft by 2025 in order to cannibalize them for spare parts.

Now we need to ensure that existing and new export controls are aggressively enforced.

Leading this initiative is our Export Enforcement team of special agents and analysts charged with investigating and holding those who violate our export controls accountable both criminally and administratively.

Yesterday, we continued to make good on our commitment to aggressively enforce our Russia controls by identifying and adding to the Entity List various parties in China and elsewhere that contracted to supply Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. 

This is an unequivocal message to parties everywhere that the U.S. and its allies and partners will continue to closely monitor backfill attempts and will not hesitate to act swiftly to hold parties accountable who attempt to circumvent our controls.

We also know that another autocratic regime – China – is watching our response closely.

As Secretary Blinken recently noted, “China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.”

We can’t let that happen. We need to solidify our international relationships for the long-term, and we need to invest in the innovation that keeps us at the forefront of the global technology race. I’m proud to lead the Commerce Department at this moment because that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Under President Biden’s leadership, America is back. We’re rebuilding bonds with allies and partners that share our values.

We’ve launched the Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative to develop a common approach to identifying, implementing, and enforcing rules on surveillance tools.

And we are re-engaging with the world through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, or TTC, which I co-chair. The TTC was vital in enabling the cooperation that allowed us to swiftly and effectively implement the export controls against Russia, and the TTC’s export controls working group will enable further coordination with our European partners.

But in order for these tools and agreements to be effective, we need to maintain America’s technological edge in innovation. Semiconductors are central to that edge.

By manufacturing the world’s most sophisticated technology, including semiconductors, on American soil – and shoring up our relationships with like-minded allies and partners – we can secure our strategic edge against bad actors.

That’s why I’m urgently working every day with Congress to pass funding for the CHIPS Act to increase domestic chip production. Our overreliance on foreign chip manufacturers is an economic and national security vulnerability.

We also need to retain our strategic advantages by keeping our advanced technologies out of the wrong hands. I know that you are all committed to that effort.

Thank you to everyone who is here from industry for your work in building effective compliance into your businesses. Your collaboration with BIS is a key factor in helping us maintain an effective export control system.

We also need you to work with us to make sure that we don’t lose our technological edge, and ensure that the values we hold dear—freedom, democracy, rule of law, and commerce with fair and inclusive rules of the road—are the values that prevail over the long-term.

BIS has three outstanding Senate-confirmed leaders who understand the stakes and are working tirelessly to advance our national security and technological leadership. This year has shown that BIS’s work makes a difference for the security and prosperity of our businesses, workers, and communities both at home and abroad.

But national security is a shared responsibility. Government plays a major role, but we need continued input, support, and diligent compliance from the private sector.

Together, we will continue working to build a new global security architecture that is anchored by U.S. and allied leadership, and animated by our shared commitments to democratic governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, and peaceful commerce.

I’m confident that if we do these things together, we will prevail, and secure the promises of democracy over autocracy. Thank you.

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