Commerce Clears Way for U.S. Companies to More Fully Engage in Tech Standards-Development Bodies

International standards serve as the critical building blocks for technological development by enabling functionality, interoperability, and safety. The U.S. industry contribution, participation, and leadership have a standard-setting influence on the telecommunications sector's standards-development activities, 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies.

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. This action recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic and national security.

The Department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging the U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.” He announced a rule that promotes U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by facilitating U.S. leadership in standards development bodies.

June 12, 2020, the rule sent to the Federal Register. The action authorizes the release of U.S. technology designated as EAR99 or controlled only for Anti-Terrorism reasons on the Commerce Control List without a license. In the context of “voluntary consensus standards bodies” of which Huawei is a participant, to contribute to the revision or development of a “standard,” as defined in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119 (Rev. 2016).

The rule returns the U.S. industry to the status quo ante, from an Entity List perspective, for disclosing such technology to Huawei and its affiliates in legal standards development contexts only, not for commercial purposes. Disclosures for commercial purposes remain “subject to the EAR” and are still subject to recordkeeping and all other applicable EAR requirements.

In 2019, BIS added Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, and its foreign affiliates (collectively, “Huawei”) to the Entity List under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). They posed a significant risk of involvement in activities contrary to the United States' national security or foreign policy interests.

The general advisory opinion posted by BIS on August 19, 2019, is no longer in effect. The Department will continue to engage with stakeholders and take the actions necessary in U.S. national security and foreign policy. It does not prevent American companies from contributing to critical standards-developing activities despite Huawei's pervasive participation in standards-development organizations.

In amending the Huawei Entity Listing, the rule promotes U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by facilitating U.S. leadership in standards development bodies.

Source: June 15, 2020, Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Industry and Security
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