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Report Unveils Strategy for U.S. Tech Competition With China


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U.S. and China chess pieces

Credit: Getty Images

The United States' global leadership on science technology faces formidable competition from the People's Republic of China; however the U.S. can take actions to maintain its competitive edge while enhancing innovation and protecting national security, according to "Meeting the China Challenge: A New American Strategy for Technology Competition," a report from the University of California San Diego.

Created as a guide for the 2020 White House transition teams, the report was authored by the bipartisan Working Group on Science and Technology in U.S.-China Relations, chaired by Peter F. Cowhey, dean of UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy. The report contains specific recommendations for a new and integrated approach to competition by the U.S. in four domains of science and technology: fundamental research, 5G digital communications, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.

The working group recommends the U.S. approach to a smart competition be based on three complementary objectives:

  1. Bolster U.S. investment in our own innovation capacities to stay competitive and secure.
  2. Preserve openness to ensure a steady flow of much-needed global talent into the U.S., and
  3. Tighten targeted measures for risk management to address security threats and minimize costs to the U.S.

The analysis re-examines conventional wisdom to assess what is the best way for the United States to compete with an increasingly more capable China, according to Cowhey.

The report commends the great strides China has made in science and technology while raising an alarm on how China's pursuit to become a high-tech superpower is linked to, and an enabler of, its quest for domestic control, regional dominance, and global deference.

"Though the desire to develop China through innovation is legitimate, many of the ways in which the Chinese government uses technology concern the U.S. and other nations that hold liberal views of human rights and fair competition," said Susan Shirk, a member of the working group and chair of UC San Diego's 21st Century China Center. "However, policymakers need to keep the huge benefits of U.S.-China collaboration in mind for solving the world's pressing medical and public health problems."

From University of California San Diego
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