Export controls targeting China doomed to fail

By China Daily editorial (Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:31, September 19, 2023

Bloomberg reported that almost 20 defense technology executives plan meetings on Monday with Biden administration officials, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other lawmakers to push for speedier military procurement and more investment in pioneering technologies, steps they say are necessary to ensure the United States maintains its innovating edge over China.

In another development, in an open letter to US Congress, leaders of defense technology companies, including Palantir, Anduril, Epirus, and 16 others, expressed deep concern about the rapid technological advancements made by China and what they view as its increased aggressiveness.

The letter, issued by Jacob Helberg, commissioner of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, emphasizes the importance of the US maintaining technological superiority and innovation in order to deter potential conflicts and expresses support for government actions to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced military technology.

It is the China threat peddled by some China hawks in Washington that has stoked the systemic China paranoia in the industry, military and economic circles in the US. These moves come in the wake of the launch of Huawei's new smartphone, whose release early this month caught attention of the world. The 7-nanometer Kirin 9000s chips used in the phones have been confirmed to be manufactured by China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. That has obviously dumbfounded those who believed that the US' technology sanctions against Chinese tech companies, especially Huawei, would exert a stranglehold on the development of the country's technology, the development of advanced chips in particular.

It is believed that China has the technology to produce at least a limited quantity of chips five years behind the cutting-edge ones, indicating that it is inching closer to its objective of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The message is clear that Washington's tech export controls targeting China are not that successful. Given the considerable profits US semiconductor companies have suffered because of the export control measures, the sanctions the Joe Biden administration has imposed against China have achieved much less than expected.

If Washington continues to have the export controls in place or even tightens them as some have suggested, US semiconductor companies will continue to suffer heavy losses, and their reduced returns from sales will make it less possible for them to invest in the further development of their technologies. That might prove to be a vicious cycle impeding their future development, to say nothing of the disruption the controls do to the global supply chains.

Washington's attempted controls on exports of technologies to China will only function as a spur to the determination and enthusiasm of China to develop the core technologies on its own. Engagement would better benefit the US, and China, as well as the world at large.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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