America can’t compete with Chinese tech by walling itself off | The Japan Times

This is a very dangerous game. Stopping trade secrets from leaking from the U.S. to China is one thing. But trying to smash the Chinese tech industry is a far taller order, and it seems unlikely to succeed.

Countries specialize when they trade with each other. The U.S. is great at software, Japan at car manufacturing, Taiwan at making semiconductors, and so on. For China to be integrated with the world economy while not specializing in any internationally competitive high-tech products at all would be extremely strange. China is no longer the low-cost assembly platform it was in the 2000s, slapping together iPhones with components made in Korea and Japan; its tech talent and accumulated knowledge are now world-class. Someone, somewhere, will want to buy Chinese tech products, and the U.S. won’t be able to stop them.

And in the meantime, export controls are hurting U.S. companies. If China can’t buy high-tech equipment, semiconductors, and software from the U.S., then it will go buy them from Japan or Europe or elsewhere. Or if the U.S. manages to block that too, then China will simply learn how to make the products itself. The main enduring result will be a loss of revenue for American manufacturers, who will now be permanently shut out of the Chinese market.

Source: America can’t compete with Chinese tech by walling itself off | The Japan Times