Commerce

Biden faucets ex-Pentagon official for key China tech place

July 13 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Alan Estevez, a former Pentagon official, to be the U.S. Commerce Division’s undersecretary for business and safety, a key publish within the U.S.-China tech battle.

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

In the course of the Trump administration, the bureau restricted U.S. gross sales to China-based Huawei Applied sciences. This hobbled the world’s largest telecommunications tools maker and gave BIS a outstanding function in efforts to restrict Chinese language corporations in telecommunications infrastructure on nationwide safety considerations.

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

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

Estevez, who didn’t reply to requests for remark, doesn’t have an in depth public document on China export points. This may occasionally assist him win affirmation within the U.S. 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, in line with his Deloitte biography, and he was concerned in supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to Hurricane Sandy reduction.

“Alan Estevez is a distinguished public servant with many years of expertise in nationwide safety,” an administration official, who didn’t need to be recognized, mentioned in a press release.

“Below 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 listing,” the commerce blacklist overseen by BIS. Dozens of different Chinese language corporations, together with video surveillance producers Hikvision (002415.SZ) and Dahua Know-how (002236.SZ), had been additionally added underneath Trump.

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

U.S. suppliers are banned from promoting to corporations on the listing with out licenses, that are troublesome to acquire.

Kevin Wolf, who served as an assistant secretary of Commerce in the course of the Obama administration and spearheaded the 2016 blacklisting of Huawei’s smaller Chinese language rival, ZTE Corp, was seen by many as the most effective certified candidate for the undersecretary publish.

However Wolf drew criticism from China hawks this yr as a result of, after leaving authorities, he joined a legislation agency the place he has recommended U.S. semiconductor and different excessive tech-companies on getting licenses to export to Chinese language corporations reminiscent of Huawei.

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

Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Modifying by Andrew Heavens, Steve Orlofsky, Chris Sanders and David Gregorio

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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