A WORLD DIVIDED: THE CONFLICT WITH CHINESE TECHNO-NATIONALISM ISN’T COMING – IT’S ALREADY HERE

A WORLD DIVIDED: THE CONFLICT WITH CHINESE TECHNO-NATIONALISM ISN’T COMING – IT’S ALREADY HERE

Four years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping told an elite audience at the World Economic Forum at Davos that “integration into the global economy is a historical trend,” asserting that “[a]ny attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies … runs counter to the historical trend.” This year at Davos, speaking via video-teleconference because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Xi was calling a very different tune, warning that other countries should not try to “start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement [which] will only push the world into division and even confrontation.”

President Joe Biden’s incoming trade and national security teams will face a number of urgent choices as they sift through the wreckage of the Trump administration, and few are more important than deciding which — if any — of the previous administration’s China-focused trade and export control policies should continue into the new term. Although the early signs are that Biden’s China team is bringing a deep bench of talented and experienced public servants, in the realm of technology policy, they will be inheriting a geopolitical landscape that has transformed dramatically since the last Democratic administration four years ago. Understanding what has changed will be key to ensuring that the United States remains a global technology leader so it can both “build back better” its domestic industries and counter Beijing’s problematic behavior.