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Commerce Secretary Calls for Increased Funding to Stop Exports of AI Chips to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has called for a significant increase in funding to prevent the export of sensitive artificial intelligence microchip technology to China. Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, she emphasized that Beijing is actively trying to circumvent the expanded export controls imposed by Washington.

Ms. Raimondo highlighted the underfunding of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the department responsible for regulating export restrictions on the most sensitive technologies from the private industry. She emphasized that the bureau’s budget has remained stagnant for a decade, making it challenging to effectively control the export of artificial intelligence and semiconductor technologies.

She emphasized the importance of allocating adequate resources to BIS, stating that the current budget of $200 million is insufficient to address the growing challenges posed by China’s aggressive pursuit of advanced technologies.

At the Reagan forum, the discussions centered on the escalating competition between the U.S. and China in the field of artificial intelligence, particularly its implications for military capabilities. Lawmakers, tech and defense industry leaders, and U.S. military commanders expressed concerns about the use of AI in weaponization efforts by both countries.

During the forum, Rep. Mike Gallagher highlighted China’s aim to leverage AI to enhance its military capabilities and establish a totalitarian surveillance state. Additionally, Pentagon Indo-Pacific Command Commander Adm. John Aquilino emphasized the rapid military buildup by China across all domains, underscoring the significance of AI in U.S. defense and deterrence strategy in East Asia.

Ms. Raimondo stressed the importance of maintaining U.S. leadership in advanced semiconductor design and the need to deny cutting-edge technology to China to prevent it from catching up. She also highlighted the critical role of enforcement and the necessity of collaboration with allies to strengthen export controls.

However, she acknowledged the complexities surrounding export restrictions, including the potential impact on U.S. companies and the interconnected nature of the U.S. and Chinese economies. Ms. Raimondo emphasized the need for reciprocal trade arrangements with China and the significance of diplomatic and economic communications.

Addressing President Biden’s recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, she emphasized the importance of communication to prevent further escalation and tension between the two nations, while maintaining vigilance on matters of national security.

The efforts to prevent the export of advanced AI and semiconductor technologies to China reflect the critical role of U.S. export controls in safeguarding national security interests and technological advancements.

Focus Keyword: export of AI chips

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