WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-21) and Andy Kim (NJ-3) today introduced bipartisan legislation to limit China’s economic and military reach to vital undersea cables. The Undersea Cable Control Act would require the Biden Administration to develop a strategy to limit foreign adversaries like China from accessing goods and technologies capable of supporting undersea cables and establishing agreements with allies and partners to do the same.
In 2019 alone, the undersea cables industry added nearly $649 billion to the U.S. economy. The American financial sector relies heavily on these cables; they support over $10 trillion in daily transactions. This legislation invokes the Export Control Reform Act - specifically Section 1752 - to restrict the export of items that could prove detrimental to the national security and the economy of the United States. The goal of the legislation is to protect this key economic infrastructure from foreign adversaries, like China.
“China under Xi Jinping has one goal: override the United States and make China the global superpower,” said Rep. Mast. “The spy balloon incident has shown the world that communist China will do anything to achieve that goal, even blatantly violate the sovereignty of the U.S.. By preventing our adversaries like China from accessing our undersea cables, we can protect a crucial infrastructure system that Americans rely on every day.”
“It is apparent now more than ever that to defend our nation from global threats, we must incorporate digital infrastructure in our national security strategy,” said Rep. Andy Kim. “By urging the State Department to prioritize undersea cable security, we are protecting American innovation and the resources used to power the global economy and internet. I am committed to working across the aisle and finding tactical, sensible approaches like this one to address the emerging challenges we face today and will face in the future.”
The Undersea Cable Control Act has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where it awaits further consideration.