How Biden will method the US battle with China over expertise

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks out about the certification of the electoral college on December 14, 2020 at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

Roberto Schmidt | AFP | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – President-elect Joe Biden is unlikely to undo President Donald Trump’s challenge to China’s tech industry and corporations – but Biden is likely to be more targeted and work with allies, experts told CNBC.

During his presidency, Trump tried to challenge China’s tech industry through sanctions, orders and other measures. Biden is likely to continue such a policy.

“The bullet has left the chamber. Trump has completely disrupted the status quo that has existed for decades between the US and China,” said Abishur Prakash, geopolitical specialist at the Center for Innovating the Future (CIF), a Toronto-based consulting firm. said CNBC via email.

Working with allies

The approach of cutting off China’s tech company could continue under Biden’s presidency.

“I think the The administrator will continue to view technology as the main source of competition and continue some of Trump’s approaches to stop the flow of critical technologies into China, “said Adam Segal, director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR ).

“The difference is that the process will be more cooperative with both the private sector and allies and will focus more on closer technologies,” he told CNBC in an email.

A Biden team’s preference will likely be to control fewer technologies, but put high walls around those deemed necessary for national security reasons to protect them.

Paul Triolo, head of geotechnical practice at Eurasia Group’s Risk Advisory Group, agreed that the Biden administration will work with allies on its strategy for Chinese technology.

Triolo told the CNBC Biden team it would “clarify what should be controlled in the areas of emerging and basic technologies”. Some of these areas include artificial intelligence and so-called quantum computing, the next generation of computing that uses quantum physics to solve problems that existing computers take years to solve.

“Here, a Biden team’s preference will likely be to control less technology, but put high walls around those that are considered necessary for national security reasons to protect them,” Triolo said in an email . “Also, I would expect the definition of which technologies are vital to control for national security reasons to be much clearer under a Biden administration than it was in the Trump years.”

According to Prakash, Biden is likely to continue Trump’s drive to ban Chinese providers of next-generation 5G cellular networks around the world. The Trump administration has urged allies to remove Huawei from its networks. Australia, Japan and the UK have done this effectively.

The geopolitical specialist said Biden could also “recalibrate” himself in areas like the blacklist of Chinese companies or certain export controls, while also looking for innovations in his approach to other areas like data rules for mergers and acquisitions.

One thing is certain – the tech battle between the US and China will continue under Biden’s presidency.

“The US doesn’t have too many options. Either it allows China to dominate the world through technology or it challenges it,” said Prakash.

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