How AI Can Improve Export Controls Enforcement

April 19, 2023
Insights: Argus for Supply Chain Influence

In December of last year, Accrete AI and Schmidt Futures co-commissioned the CSIS report titled “Improved Export Controls Enforcement Technology Needed for U.S. National Security.”

Read the full report

“At a time when the need for robust U.S. export controls is more strategically critical than at any time since the end of the Cold War, BIS’s enabling technology is in a dreadful state.”

In the report, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recommends boosting the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) capacity to enforce new, more stringent export controls that were put into place in October 2022 through technology modernization and the use of AI.

CSIS estimates that with a five-year annual investment of $25M, the U.S. Department of Commerce will be able to identify and enforce export control violations, prevent the flow of sensitive technologies to foreign adversaries, and increase analyst productivity tenfold through the adoption of AI technologies to surface threats hidden in plain sight on the open-source web.

Accrete AI endorses the excellent work that Gregory C. Allen and CSIS are doing on export control enforcement and modernization, as it is critical that the U.S. Department of Commerce and Congress engage on this vital matter of national importance.

Argus for Supply Chain Influence helps predict and reveal export control vulnerabilities as it scales to the complexity of the internet and business data. Read on to see how Argus generates high-value insights beyond human capacity to reveal insights that were designed to be hidden to evade export control regimes.

Argus allows for the discovery of primary and secondary channels through which sanctioned companies or countries can access semiconductor technology, as well as the identification of new red flags based on known relationships with previously sanctioned companies. 

Argus for Supply Chain Influence UI screenshot illustrating a knowledge graph and Argus Chat interaction with the user

For example, Argus shows that if ASML or Cadence Design Systems, two notable firms in the semiconductor industry, were to permanently cut ties with a sanctioned Chinese company such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), numerous channels exist through which SMIC could access ASML technology. For instance, Cymer, a unit of ASML, is a supplier to SMIC. Cadence Design Systems, an ASML partner, has both direct and indirect links to SMIC. Intermediaries such as US-based Siemens, Virage Logic (a Synopsis company), and MIPS, as well as China-based VeriSilicon and Brite Semiconductor, provide additional pathways that SMIC could utilize.

In addition to SMIC, business data reveal that ASML maintains a partnership with the Shanghai Integrated Circuit Research and Development Center, a company recently placed on the BIS Entity List. Another sanctioned Chinese company on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List, HiSilicon (a Huawei subsidiary), is a customer of Cadence Design Systems, Siemens, Virage Logic, and Synopsis - all of which have business relationships with SMIC.

Having access to such key insights can be a key driver to improving export control enforcement and mitigating foreign risks. Learn more about Argus

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