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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 2) Chinas role as the worlds largest supplier, accounting for some 25 percent of global manufacturing output; 3) Chinas challenge as an ever-more capable business competitor, especially in advanced technologies; and 4) Chinas emergence as a major military and geopolitical rival. 2 Different nations and regions weigh these four dimensions in very different, not easily reconciled ways. THE CHINA CHALLENGE IS NOT A RERUN This four-part strategic framework helps us dispense with the idea that the challenge from China is like that of the Soviet Union in the 1960s, or Japan in the 1980s. The USSR was a military and geopolitical rival, but it was never any of the other three dimensions. Similarly, Japan was (and still is) strong in two dimensions: It remains a formidable business competitor as well as a major supplier in many industries. But it has never been an essential market for most U.S. firms, and since WWII, it has been a close Western ally. These limitations gave the United States considerable room to maneuver. It could impose strict controls on technology exports to the USSR without fear of retaliation, and it could leverage Japans reliance on the American security umbrella to wrest important concessions in areas such as semiconductors and automobiles. Figure 1: Forces shaping national interests in China INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ethnic tensions; vast income inequalities; and increasingly authoritarian and centralized leadership. Whether these will halt Chinas rise is unclear. However, the United States must also address its own societal and economic weaknesses and reinvigorate its still- great underlying strengths. Americas development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines might be an early sign of this change, but the persistence of COVID-19 variants and the wrenching pullout from Afghanistan limit near-term optimism. A BALANCING ACT: U.S. VERSUS ALLIED INTERESTS The four-part framework illustrates the balancing act required to serve certain American interests without undermining others. It also provides a starting point for comparing U.S. interests with those of other nations. While all four areas are complex, each has one overriding policy question: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY it is now an essential market for German machinery and French and Italian luxury goods. The United Kingdom has enormous financial services and other interests in Hong Kong that have been largely unaffected by the new security laws China imposed in June of 2020. Indeed, the United Kingdom sees even greater financial-services opportunities in China itself. Unlike the United States, Western Europes global imports and exports are roughly balanced, and thus Europe doesnt face the same trade-deficit pressures that shape the American mindset. Imagine how different Americas political and public opinions would be if it didnt have enormous trade deficits, both globally and with China. Whether by chance or strategic design, China competes much more directly with key U.S. industries than it does with the major European ones (at least for now). Moreover, when it comes to digital technologies, Europe is highly dependent on the United States, and many see the United States as more of a threat than China. In many digital domains, Europe actually welcomes an alternative to U.S. suppliers, especially as America and Europe engage in complex negotiations in areas such as antitrust, taxation, cross-border data flows, and privacy. Europe is more concerned with Russian meddling in its neighboring nations than it is about the balance of power in the Asia/Pacific region. For example, NATOs recent Brussels Summit Communique discusses Russia at length, but says relatively little about China. Although European leaders often criticize Chinas and Russias human rights, environmental and IP practices, such concerns rarely outweigh important business considerations, as evidenced by the EUs support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which the Biden administration has acquiesced to. In short, Europe doesnt feel the downside effects of the rise of China nearly as much America does. While both the United States and Europe are concerned about their dependency on Chinese suppliers, they differ in the other three areas. America worries about its huge global trade deficit; Europe doesnt have one. America is concerned about Chinas challenge to its world-leading technology industry; Europe lost the digital competition many years ago. The United States fears Chinas military strength in the Pacific region; Europe has far less at stake and generally believes it can live under the U.S. defense shield. Its very difficult for shared concerns about human rights and wolf warrior diplomacy to overcome these differences. Finally, while the EU played some role in containing the threat of Soviet expansionismin large part because it was on their doorstepit shows few signs of wanting to block the rise of China. This explains why U.S. calls for Western unity against China usually receive more rhetorical than substantive support. Most European leaders would rather not form blocs or choose between the two superpowers. Many would prefer not to talk about China at all, although this position is becoming untenable. The Biden administration was heartened to see the European Parliament put the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment on hold, and hopes it is a harbinger of changes to come. But the differences in interests and orientation remain, and this delay may well be temporary. Perhaps U.S. and European priorities cant be truly aligned unless China becomes a near-term economic threat to core European industries such as automobiles, aerospace, chemicals, and machine tools. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Asian trade balances are generally favorable; the competitive challenges have been manageable; and public opinion hasat least until very recentlybeen less affected by COVID-19. Many Asian leaders must doubt whether in the long run Chinas military dominance of the region can really be INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY the border tensions with China could recede; Indias long history of nonalignment might well resurface; India and China share many compelling economic interests; and India has its own self-sufficiency, Atmanirbhar Bharat, movement. Although the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia provides a forum for collective efforts to curb China, its ability to go beyond the dialog stage is anything but assured. A nightmare scenario for the United States would be the strategic combination of Chinas manufacturing prowess and Indias strong software, professional services, and English language capabilities. If this scenario were to play out, the worlds economic center of gravity would likely INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY companies that are heavy importers from China dont support them because they tend to raise costs, disrupt operations, or both. The main support comes from those manufacturing firms that face intense competition from China, as well as from political and military leaders and much of the general public. Until recently, these latter voices lost the China policy debate more often than they prevailed. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Increase transparency by requiring U.S. companies to provide detailed information about their imports from China, sales in China, and other business dealings with China; Incentivize reshoring by improving domestic tax credits and rewarding U.S. employment and value added; Insist on reciprocity in U.S./China trade relations, especially regarding market access; Make “Made in X” country labeling much more explicit, particularly online; Increase employee bargaining power through unionization, putting employees on boards, expanding employee stock ownership, and related efforts; and Collect more relevant China data, establish scorecards and metrics, measure change, and reward results. These and similar actions can enable U.S. businesses to continue to succeed in China without having to sell their home nation short. Over time, they could help reduce Americas dependencies, bring jobs back to the United States, and give employees a greater stake in their companies success. Coupled with the needed increases in government funding for R Customer-Driven IT (Harvard Business School Press, 2003); and Waves of PowerThe Dynamics of Global Technology Leadership (Amacom,1997). He was previously head of worldwide research for both International Data Corporation (IDC) and The Leading Edge Forum. About ITIF The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIFs mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress. For more information, visit ENDNOTES 1. David Moschella and Robert D. Atkinson, “India Is an Essential Counterweight to Chinaand the Next Great U.S. Dependency” (ITIF, April 2021), https:/ essential-counterweight-china-and-next-great-us-dependency. 2. David Moschella and Robert D. Atkinson, “Competing With China: A Strategic Framework” (ITIF, August 2020), https:/


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