Rodgers and Barrasso call for review of responsibility for illicit technology transfers to China

Washington D.C.- House Republican Energy and Commerce Leader Cathy McMorris (R-WA) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Member John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) urging the agency to review the Department of Energy’s (DOE) technology transfer activities to ensure they are working in the best interests of the American people, and not to help adversaries like China.

Excerpts and highlights from the letter to the GAO:

“Each year, the Department of Energy (DOE) oversees the investment of billions of federal dollars in research and development to advance the nation’s economic, energy, and national security interests. This work is conducted in DOE research and production facilities and in its national laboratory system, which is at the forefront of technological development and maturation, and which drives innovation and benefits competitiveness and safety. Americans. To help ensure that taxpayer-funded technologies developed by the DOE can be commercialized to benefit the nation, the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) develops and oversees the Department’s commercialization programs and engagement with commercial sectors. and industrialists across the United States.

“While OTT’s mission is important, it’s also critical that potential technology transfers be reviewed to ensure that taxpayer-funded technologies are not transferred to foreign companies that will ultimately displace jobs abroad and will use American technological breakthroughs to compete with American industry. This point is underscored by a recent DOE review of the licensing of breakthrough battery technology — developed through taxpayer-funded research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington state — following information according to which the laboratory authorized the transfer of the technological license to a Chinese. company. The review revealed a lack of internal controls and effective license management at the laboratory. He also identified the need to assess research security and technology transfer policy and oversight across the DOE enterprise to address business and security risks.

“To protect American investments in advanced technology and American manufacturing jobs, it is essential to clarify whether DOE technology transfer activities are working in the interest of the American people, and not to support America’s adversaries. . Accordingly, we are writing to request that the Government Accountability Office undertake a broad review of DOE’s technology transfer and intellectual property protection activities.

“Specifically, we direct GAO to evaluate the DOE’s technology transfer program and its implementation across the DOE enterprise, with a focus on the controls in place to protect taxpayer-funded technology. against foreign transfers. We believe this is particularly important with respect to technologies that have been identified as critical and emerging.

“Further, we direct the GAO to assess the tools available to the government to monitor DOE-funded critical and emerging technologies that have already been transferred to U.S. companies to guard against their potential subsequent acquisition by or transfer. to foreign companies or countries. A review of this nature should include a full exploration of how the DOE enforces the terms of its laboratory licenses.

“We appreciate your assistance in this DOE management oversight effort, which is important in strengthening the competitiveness of the United States by helping to ensure that critical and emerging taxpayer-funded technologies provide maximum benefit to the people who funded their development.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

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