Biden Taps Obama Justice Veteran for Commerce Export-Control Job

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President Joe Biden is nominating a Justice Department veteran from the Obama administration to oversee the enforcement of dual-use export controls at the Commerce Department as he seeks to limit China’s access to cutting-edge technology.

Matthew Axelrod is Biden’s pick for assistant secretary for export enforcement within the Bureau of Industry and Security, according to a person familiar with his plans, who asked not to be named because they haven’t yet been made public. Axelrod spent more than a decade at the Department of Justice, including time as the principal associate deputy attorney general, advising on top criminal and national-security issues.

Biden last month said that he was nominating Alan Estevez, a Deloitte LLP logistics consultant and former Defense Department official, to lead the BIS, an agency that’s a key player in the export controls arena. Both positions are subject to Senate confirmation.

The BIS is in charge of the so-called entity list. U.S. firms are required to obtain government licenses if they want to sell American tech and intellectual property to businesses on the list.

The Trump administration used export controls, prohibitions and executive orders to block companies including Huawei Technologies Co., chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Tencent Holdings Ltd. from American goods and consumers. Now, it’s up to Biden whether to maintain, remove or deepen those measures.

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