Jeannette Chu: An Interview with Our New Expert

Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics  >  Trustee China Hand

By The Trustee Chair Team

The Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics welcomes Jeannette Chu to our team as a non-resident senior associate. Chu is one of the world’s leading experts in the practice of export controls with a particular focus on China. She brings a plethora of experience from both the US government and the private sector, not only in Washington but also out in the field in China and the rest of the region. Read her full bio here
Jeannette was kind of enough to recently participate in a brief interview with the Trustee Chair Program Manager Alyssa Perez about her career and the trajectory of U.S. policy on export controls. 
You’ve worked on export controls from Washington, DC and out in the field in Asia. How do those two perspectives differ, and do they complement each other or pull you in different directions in terms of what US policy should be?
What a great question! Export control regulations and policy is determined in Washington, D.C. Out in the field, whether that means Asia or Silicon Valley, Aerospace Alley or even just within the D.C. Beltway, it is more common to be in reactive mode; companies try to understand and comply with regulations that in some cases may not have been crafted with their unique circumstances in mind. Certainly from a company perspective, trade compliance can be more about the day-to-day logistics of moving goods compliantly around the world rather than big picture policy considerations. That said, it is important for industry to participate in the policy dialogue by commenting on proposed regulations and legislation, and through various industry forums. 
What do you suggest Washington policymakers do to further improve how export controls are applied to China? 
Export controls and sanctions play an important role in protecting our national security and advancing foreign policy goals. It is important therefore that these tools are deployed consistently and effectively. There is already robust and formal interagency coordination on a number of export controls and sanctions issues ranging from commodity jurisdiction to licensing and sanctions designations. This needs to be amplified through a "whole of government" approach that considers long term impacts and potential unintended consequences. Conversely, turning export controls and sanctions into something that is transactional or used like a bargaining chip could undermine the overall effectiveness of our China policy. 

It is important for industry to participate in the policy dialogue by commenting on proposed regulations and legislation, and through various industry forums. 

How do you see US-China export control relations playing out during the Biden administration in regard to the semiconductor industry?
I am looking forward to a thoughtful and measured approach that is equally focused on building our domestic capacity for semiconductor manufacturing whilst remaining laser-focused on keeping technology, equipment, and chips out of the hands of those who would seek to harm us. 
What is your advice to young professionals who want to succeed in a career related to export controls and China?
This is a growing field; jump in! Learn as much as you can, get as broad experience as you can across industries and geographies. Export controls truly is where trade and security intersect so being adept in both areas will give you a clear advantage. Understand the multilateral regimes and how China's participation or lack thereof affects their policies. Watch and learn how China is implementing its own export control law and Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law. 

Related Trustee Chair Activity

Blog Post: Alyssa Perez, “Deborah Seligsohn: An Interview With Our New Expert,” April 30, 2021.

Brief: Scott Kennedy, Washington’s China Policy Has Lost Its Wei, July 27, 2020. 

Report: Scott Kennedy, ed. China’s Uneven High-Tech Drive: Implications for the United States, February 2020.