By: Sarah Kirchberger

What is the kernel of the issue?

China has invested heavily in emerging strategic technologies in recent years and has several initiatives in place such as “Made in China 2025” and “China Standards 2035.” Such initiatives aim to spur Chinese breakthrough innovations in high-technology industry, make China technologically independent and put China in a position to set new global standards for emerging tech.  

Why is the issue important?

The private tech sector in the United States and Europe already competes against Chinese industries that receive vast amounts of state R&D funding and other subsidies and have benefited from long-term state-orchestrated technology theft, all of which gives them a competitive advantage in many markets. The possibility that China could leap ahead of the United States and Europe in emerging technology innovation, combined with its Digital Silk Road and BRI Space Information Corridor initiatives, threatens the long-term viability of Western countries’ industrial bases, puts China in a position to set global standards for these new technologies, and reduces the chance for the US and its allies to maintain a military advantage over an increasingly assertive China.   

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration, potentially as part of the forthcoming infrastructure investment bill, should prioritize funding for R&D in strategic emerging technologies like 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. This investment, coupled with like-minded investments from European allies and partners in their industries, would allow the United States and its democratic allies and partners to remain at the forefront of innovation in these areas and keep China from dominating global technology standards. 

Related Experts: Sarah Kirchberger