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For all the lofty talk, dirty deeds remain the hallmark of US policy: China Daily editorial
From:China Daily  |  2022-10-10 16:38

United States President Joe Biden has on many occasions claimed his government doesn't seek a new Cold War with China. His administration's China policy, as Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both repeatedly maintained, is to compete and cooperate wherever necessary.

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said the other day that the US administration doesn't have a policy to decouple from China.

Things would be a lot better for both countries if those claims held true. But that's not the case, at least in the technology sector, where the US government is doubling down on its efforts to throttle Chinese ambitions for advancement.

On Wednesday, in a bid to "highlight and counter the People's Republic of China's military-civil fusion strategy", the US Defense Department added 13 more Chinese companies, including the civilian drone maker DJI Technology, to a blacklist that subjects them to an investment ban.

On Friday, the US Commerce Department announced a sweeping set of more aggressive export controls aimed at limiting Chinese access to the most advanced chips and the tools needed to develop its own. Under the new rules, toolmakers will have to stop shipping equipment to wholly Chinese-owned factories producing advanced logic chips, and chipmakers will be prohibited from providing advanced chips made anywhere with US equipment.

Also on Friday, 31 other Chinese tech companies, such as leading domestic chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp, were put on a list of entities that US officials "cannot inspect" and may face tougher restrictions for that reason.

The moves are the latest in a series allegedly targeted at the "nefarious end use" of technology and with the aim of ensuring "companies across the globe operate on a level playing field". In reality the latest slew of US hurdles are meant to substantially slow down the pace of Chinese technological progress particularly in relation to supercomputing and military applications.

No wonder a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called the move an abuse of trade measures designed to reinforce the US'"technological hegemony". They are not fair play, but straightforward, undisguised suppression.

Contrary to its rhetoric, the current US administration has actually maneuvered the biggest shift in US policy on technological exchanges with China since the 1990s. But while the US moves will no doubt disrupt global supplies and frustrate the Chinese chip sector in the short term, they are unlikely to impede China's technological advancement in the long run.

And China will not be the only victim. The US tech sector, which has benefited tremendously from the robust Chinese market, will also suffer, as the US government's abusive use of the foreign direct product rule, on which the US controls are based, will gradually erode the advantages of US technologies.

Unless the US government can make sure it has watertight control over global technological progress and the international market, the rigid control regime will ultimately undermine US companies' competitiveness and hence US technological leadership.