US President Joe Biden Faucets Ex-Pentagon Official for Key China Tech Place


US President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Alan Estevez, a former Pentagon official, to be the US Commerce Division’s undersecretary for trade and safety, a key put up within the US-China tech battle.

The put up within the Commerce Division’s once-obscure Bureau of Trade and Safety (BIS) gained consideration in recent times as Washington has escalated its use of export controls to maintain China from acquiring US expertise.

Through the Trump administration, the bureau restricted US gross sales to China-based Huawei. This hobbled the world’s largest telecommunications tools maker and gave BIS a distinguished function in efforts to restrict Chinese language firms in telecommunications infrastructure on nationwide safety issues.

Estevez, now an govt with Deloitte Consulting, had a 36-year-career with the Division of Protection. Through the Obama administration, he represented the division on the Committee on Overseas Funding in the USA (CFIUS), which opinions investments for nationwide safety.

“He is a really stable man,” mentioned Eric Hirschhorn, who served because the Obama administration’s undersecretary for trade and safety.

Estevez, who didn’t reply to requests for remark, doesn’t have an in depth public report on China export points. This may occasionally assist him win affirmation within the US Senate the place China hawks have been fast to assault different Biden nominees.

His Protection Division profession included serving as principal deputy undersecretary of protection for acquisition, expertise and logistics, based on his Deloitte biography, and he was concerned in supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to Hurricane Sandy aid.

“Alan Estevez is a distinguished public servant with a long time of expertise in nationwide safety,” an administration official, who didn’t wish to be recognized, mentioned in an announcement.

“Underneath his management, BIS will proceed to bolster our export management and funding screening efforts to guard our nationwide safety and guarantee America can compete and win within the twenty first century,” the official mentioned.

In 2019, Huawei was positioned on the Commerce Division’s “entity checklist,” the commerce blacklist overseen by BIS. Dozens of different Chinese language firms, together with video surveillance producers Hikvision and Dahua Expertise, have been additionally added below Trump.

In latest weeks, the Biden administration added extra Chinese language firms to the blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.

US suppliers are banned from promoting to firms on the checklist with out licenses, that are tough to acquire.

Kevin Wolf, who served as an assistant secretary of Commerce throughout the Obama administration and spearheaded the 2016 blacklisting of Huawei’s smaller Chinese language rival, ZTE, was considered by many as the perfect certified candidate for the undersecretary put up.

However Wolf drew criticism from China hawks this 12 months as a result of, after leaving authorities, he joined a legislation agency the place he has endorsed US semiconductor and different excessive tech-companies on getting licenses to export to Chinese language firms resembling Huawei.

“The White Home ought to be embarrassed for not going with Kevin Wolf,” mentioned William Reinsch, one other former undersecretary of Commerce. “This man is okay, however everybody is aware of Kevin’s the perfect man for the job.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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