AI Export Control Legislation Proposed


House China Hawks introduced the “Enhancing National Frameworks for Overseas Critical Exports Act” (ENFORCE Act), modifying the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA),  giving the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) the authority to use export controls on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other national security-related emerging technology that can potentially be used by our enemies in the future.

The ENFORCE Act modernizes the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA), which provides statutory export control authority, in narrow but powerful ways. The ENFORCE Act amends ECRA to give BIS the authority to export control-covered AI systems (without requiring BIS to do so) by:

  • Providing clear legal authority to BIS to use “U.S. persons controls” on activities relating to covered AI systems or other national security-related emerging technologies. This would allow BIS to, for example, require top U.S. AI labs to implement security checks before collaborating with AI labs linked to the Chinese military.
  • Allowing BIS to require licenses for the export of covered AI systems or other national security-related emerging technologies— giving BIS the authority to stop transfers to China.
  • Updating IEEPA so that a section referencing the Export Administration Act of 1979—which has since been repealed by and replaced with ECRA—instead references ECRA.

The U.S. government has the tools it needs to keep critical hardware with national security ramifications out of the hands of our adversaries’ militaries,” said Chairman McCaul. “But we don’t have those same clear tools to keep the software that powers advanced technologies – the AI systems themselves – from them. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will close those loopholes. For far too long, the law has lagged behind technological advances. That stops today.”

“Without action, there is a grave possibility that a future cyber-attack on the American homeland could be enabled by AI technologies. Under current law, our national security community does not have the authority necessary to prevent the Chinese Communist Party, its military, and the companies they directly control, from acquiring AI systems that could aid future cyberattacks against the United States,” said Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi. “The ENFORCE Act would address this threat by ensuring that the Bureau of Industry and Security has the authority necessary to address the security risks posed by AI and technology transfers, ensuring that American technologies, American researchers and firms do not feed the Chinese Communist Party’s military and surveillance state.”


  • According to the United States–China Economic and Security Review Commission, China is using commercial AI advancements to develop its military capabilities so it can prepare for a potential war over Taiwan.
  • The ENFORCE Act would allow BIS to use export controls to safeguard future AI systems that threaten national security from our adversaries.
  • This bill would not provide BIS any authorities on existing systems or advanced systems that do not threaten national security.

Read the full text of the bill here.

Read a summary of the bill here.


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