CNAS COMMENTARIES – Export Controls Are a Defining Instrument of U.S. National Security


Economic statecraft has become a crucial pillar of U.S. foreign policy. Over the past several years, there have been substantial shifts in both the scope and policy goals of American export controls. From the tech sector to defense and biopharmaceuticals, more industries and government policy leaders find themselves on the front line of sensitive decision-making on whether and how to advance security by limiting exports. A coordinated approach to this field is critical to U.S. economic competitiveness as well as to strategic competition with China and navigating the future of bilateral economic ties.

In a new CNAS commentary series “Export Controls Are a Defining Instrument of U.S. National Security,” experts with a range of prior government and private sector experience evaluate the evolving goals served by U.S. export controls. Over the course of this first installment of commentaries, as well as in further publications in this series, these stakeholders will recommend effective policymaking in the export controls domain. By addressing the changing national security goals of U.S. export controls, their extraterritorial and unintended effects, and recommending engagement strategies with partners and allies, the series endeavors to inform decisionmakers across the U.S. government, the broader national security community, and private industry. This commentary series is part of the initiative on U.S. export controls and U.S. national security that CNAS launched in June.

“Growing economic and technological competition between the United States and China are taking U.S. policy into uncharted territory, requiring decision makers in Washington to develop new tools and strategies,” said Ely Ratner, CNAS Executive Vice President. “This CNAS series will provide an important framework for policymakers to defend U.S. interests and renew American competitiveness.”

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