Stopping the Outflow of U.S. Quantum Technology to China (and Others)
Restrictions needed but not sufficient to address Chinese technology acquisition
Selected notes ~
+ New tools to prevent Chinese acquisition of US technology that could harm American national security are needed. But even if the United States leaves the lion’s share of the work to prevent Chinese acquisition of important national security technology to these tools (not the correct approach), they cannot work effectively unless they are coupled with multilateralism, diplomacy and investments in the US government agencies that have to develop persuasive rationales for restrictions and then go out an convince foreign governments to take the same approach.
Many of the views on China articulated in the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy are shared widely in the United States, although there are disagreements regarding means, for instance, the use of tariffs. This bipartisan sense that US China policy over the last several decades has not worked out as expected explains why the Congress and the Administration have developed new tools to deny China access to US technology. Those tools are needed but not sufficient.
+ The unipolar moment has come and gone, but the United States can still, if it works with allies, shape the future. However, especially because the United States often relies on complex legal instruments such as FIRRMA, ECRA and the Supply Chain Executive Order as a part of the toolbox to achieve foreign policy and/or national security objectives, it is essential to work with allies. After all, denying China US technology makes no sense if China can acquire equivalent technology from other nations. But countries can be surprisingly receptive to US persuasion if it is grounded in facts and if the United States engages on a regular and consistent basis on these matters, recognizing that we will not always succeed in persuading allies.
+ Taken together, FIRRMA, ECRA and the Supply Chain EO are a significant – some would say dramatic – expansion in the government’s ability to control investments, exports and ICT supply chain transactions. The mere presence on the books of these new government instruments has probably already prevented deals even without regulations in the case of ECRA and the Supply Chain EO. But there is a reason those regulations have been delayed. Getting this right in the sense of effectively denying China (we are primarily talking about China here) technologies important for national security without undermining US economic competitiveness is challenging.
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