Chips Act Is the Carrot, Where’s The Stick?

Josh Rogin’s recent column on the Chips Act, “Designed to compete with China, the Chips bill falls short,” calls needed attention to multi-front battle the US must be waging to halt China’s quest to dominate global high-tech manufacturing, and help us compete and win against America’s leading adversary.

While the long overdue Chips Act will strengthen America’s position in the semiconductor market, create American jobs and bolster our national security, the bill will only be effective over the long-term when complemented with other strategies, like export controls and adding more companies linked to the Chinese government on the Entity List.

CTT Co-Founder Dr. Roslyn Layton underscored these concerning omissions from the bill in a recent interview with the UK Telegraph where she said of the bill, “It’s all carrot and no stick.” Layton cited the bill’s corporate giveaways with no expectations of what they will give America in return. She pointed to Apple’s incorporation of memory from the Chinese military-linked chipmaker, Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC), in its devices as an example of how companies are “thanking” the administration for the giveaways and where export control tools are not being effectively wielded. An increasing number of national security leaders have been publicly pressing the Commerce Department to put YMTC the Entity list. “Many Senators and the Biden White House have called out the risk, but they have done nothing to protect,” warned Layton.

Rogin raises that the bill was not as tough on China as the Chinese government originally feared because “lawmakers ultimately failed to address several issues related to China’s malign behavior.” He cites a 2021 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USSC) which lists the key areas where the United States needs to escalate its economic strategy against China, which includes tightening export controls.” Citing several “stick” measures that were dropped from the bill, Rogin points to the Biden administration’s intention to rely on additional oversight by the Commerce Department, instead. Rogin rightly warns that efforts to thwart China will only go so far without the Administration’s will to do so.

Layton also recently cautioned the same writing in a Forbes column about the Commerce Department’s failures to promote and protect US technologies from China: “China’s success – and America’s loss – reflects the consequences of U.S. government inaction. . . “U.S. and foreign companies … are advancing CCP economic, military, and political priorities. Put another way, short-term corporate profits are sacrificing long-term American strategic interests. The Administration must use export controls to stop the PRC from further building out its semiconductor supply chain.”