ITIF: Should the U.S. Accept China’s Economic and Tech Rise?

Last week the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) hosted a roundtable discussion focused on a key question: Should the United States accept China’s economic and technological rise?

Especially as the incoming Biden-Harris administration prepares to take office, America’s response to China will shape leaderships roles well into the future.

Jennifer Ruben wrote in the Washington Post late last month that “the ‘reformist’ wing is carrying the day when it comes to [President-elect Biden’s] China policy.”

“Our position will be much stronger when we build coalitions of like-minded partners and allies to make common cause with us in defense of our shared interests and values,” President-elect Biden said during a speech on December 28.

During the ITIF roundtable, participants roundly agreed that it is important the Biden administration make clear its positions to China and work with allies to multilaterally curb China’s technological and economic ambitions.

“There’s not much the U.S. can do to slow down China’s GDP growth,” said ITIF president Robert Atkinson. “The right question is, can we slow down China’s technology advancement? We can and we should.”

Ruben suggests that President-elect Biden may depart from the Trump administration’s hardline approach to curb the flow of U.S.-made technologies into China. As we have written here, ditching the Trump Administration’s policies out of hand could further empower China’s rise.

As Ruben notes, President-elect Biden does recognize one important consideration—the importance of supporting the U.S. technology to maintain our country’s competitive edge.

The Brookings Institution’s Thomas Wright wrote recently that President-elect Biden’s China policies should enlist Republic support by investing in “the [U.S.] semiconductor industry and 5G infrastructure, appointing assistant secretaries for Asia at the State Department and the Pentagon who can easily win bipartisan support, and showing that he is serious about using the Treasury and Commerce Departments to compete with China.”