High-tech export controls will bring the US no good

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/20 23:08:40

Export controls will bring the US no good

The Bureau of Industry and Security under the US Department of Commerce released an advance notice on Monday and are seeking public comment concerning likely the strictest ever technology export restriction. The planned export controls include 14 advanced technology categories such as artificial intelligence, microprocessors, quantum computing and robotics. The notice didn't refer specifically to China, but it is believed the restriction is primarily targeting the country.

US tech stocks suffered a fall on the same day, indicating that the Commerce Department's plan dealt a blow to the market.

It is a simple rule that the bigger the market, the more likely US high-tech companies can reap handsome returns, which is necessary to support research and development and maintain its leadership in the global technology field. In technology, market scale is closely connected to research capability, yet the US Commerce Department is directing US high-tech companies to beat competitors by cutting the market.

This approach may be applicable to non-technology companies. But for science and technology research programs that are highly dependent on market return for sustainable growth, it is business suicide to abandon a market as big as China.

The US government's expansion of the export restriction list is out of fear of intellectual property "theft". It seems to US officials that the US will suffer losses as long as it engages in trade with other countries.

Such a mentality will bring the US no good. In the era of globalization, the US has built success and retrieved benefits from combining the best various elements of the world. Now the US is changing the basic rules of globalization, and will inevitably incur great loss because of it.

China will face difficulties if the US expands export restrictions on technologies. But the results may not turn out as US policymakers imagined.

The US has long restricted technological exports to China. Americans didn't lend much help to building China's scientific research capability. Chinese people made their own technological breakthroughs from national defense to civil use. That is to say, China's high-tech is generally Chinese people's own intellectual property. Instead of selling high-tech to China, the US forced China to develop high-tech itself.

China's industrial and technological foundation can support the country in comprehensively developing homegrown technological programs. Compared with the time when China started the "two bombs, one satellite" project, the China-US technological gap is much smaller. China's development potential is unstoppable, and both countries will benefit if US companies join China's development progress. If US companies give it up, then both sides will bear the loss.

The US doesn't have a monopoly on the world's high-tech regardless of its existing advanced technology. De-globalization disrupts the logic of world economic development, and won't win people's support. China's reciprocal technological exchanges with other countries will carry on.

Beijing needs to remain calm while Washington is impulsive. It has become a trend in the US to expand technological export restrictions against China, but it's uncertain to what extent Washington will enforce the restrictions. China shouldn't be swayed from the course of opening-up because of Washington's restrictions.

Newspaper headline: Export controls will bring the US no good

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