Roundtable Recap: China’s Threat to National and Economic Security in Democratic Nations

On November 19, the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum (PI-SF) hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on “China’s Threat to National and Economic Security in Democratic Nations.” The event was moderated by former U.S. Representative Robert Pittenger (NC-9), who, during his time in Congress, spearheaded legislation to halt the flow of sensitive U.S.-made duel-use technologies to China’s military.

Unanimously, the expert panel agreed that China’s ambitions to control over modern technologies is a primary challenge to the United States’ economic and national security interests. 

“There is widespread bipartisan consensus that we have failed in our efforts to bring China closer to our values,” said U.S. Representative John Curtis (UT-3). That realization prompted the creation of the China Task Force, which produced more than 150 pieces of legislation—including the Advanced Technology Surveillance Accountability Act, authored by Rep. Curtis.

“We have taken strong action to respond to the threats emerging from Chinese enterprises, especially those that seek to leverage U.S. origin semiconductor emerging technologies for maligned purposes,” said Cordell Hull, acting Undersecretary for Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Efforts to control the flow of sensitive technologies are increasingly vital. Chinese demand for U.S.-made semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) increased 50% in the last year alone. The Made in China 2025 plan seeks to replace the country’s need for U.S.-made semiconductors with indigenous products by 2035. 

“People are very upset with China’s behavior,” Dr. Layton concluded. But, she cautioned, often business’ profits have superseded long-term economic and national security considerations. “We have to stand up to business interests that are only thinking in the short term.”

Watch the full event here.