Romney and Hassan Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Enforcement of U.S. Export Controls

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight (ETSO) Subcommittee respectively, today introduced bipartisan legislation to help protect U.S. national security by strengthening export controls enforcement. The Export Controls Enforcement Improvement Act bolsters the Export Enforcement Coordination Center—an interagency hub for information sharing and coordination among the key agencies responsible for export control enforcement—to combat export controls evasion and prevent U.S. adversaries from acquiring sensitive, American-developed technology.

“Export controls are a key national security tool to protect American technology from being acquired and used by our adversaries,” said Senator Romney. “The United States leads the world in technological innovation and countries like China, Russia, and Iran go to great lengths to acquire our sensitive technologies, like semiconductors and artificial intelligence—often in contravention of U.S. export controls. Our legislation would ensure that the interagency Export Enforcement Coordination Center has the resources it needs to effectively lead export controls enforcement and coordination efforts.”

“We must prevent our adversaries from acquiring and misusing American-developed technology,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan legislation will strengthen export controls by boosting resources for the detection, investigation, and prevention of potential export violations. I look forward to leading a hearing with Senator Romney on Wednesday on what the U.S. can continue to do to strengthen export controls.


The Export Controls Enforcement Improvement Act would:

  • Formally establish and promote consistent staffing levels for the Export Enforcement Coordination Center (E2C2).
  • Target and focus enforcement efforts on critical matters for national security:
    The unlawful transshipment and diversion of exports to China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea; and
  • Sensitive technologies involving semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and quantum technology.
  • Require an assessment of the value of increasing the number of law enforcement officials posted in foreign countries focused on export controls.
  • Support coordination with the private sector to ensure U.S. companies are aware of latest threats and risks of transshipment.

Senators Romney and Hassan have made strengthening the enforcement of export controls a top priority of the ETSO Subcommittee. Tomorrow, April 10, the senators are leading an ETSO hearing with officials from the Biden Administration that focuses on ensuring government agencies are equipped with the resources they need to enforce export controls, as well as ways to improve interagency and private sector coordination to safeguard sensitive U.S. technology. In January, Senators Romney and Hassan sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an assessment of the Department of Commerce’s export controls restricting advanced semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and related technologies from going to China and other adversaries.