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Chinese Escalation of Tech Wars Provides Fresh Impetus for U.S. to Pursue Resource Independence

Late last month, China announced a new set of export controls — this one on certain drones and drone-related equipment — to “safeguard national security interests.”

According to Reuters, the export restrictions on equipment will enter into effect on September 1.

The move follows on the heels of recently-announced export restrictions on gallium and germanium, which are to take effect this week, and ties into the context of escalating tensions between China and the United States on the trade front and over technology access.

A recent editorial published by the state media tabloid The Global Times cited by Reuters made clear that “the imposition of controls on exports on some gallium and germanium products was a ‘practical way’ of telling the U.S. and its allies that their efforts to curb China from procuring more advanced technology was a ‘miscalculation’.”

Leaving no doubt about China’s willingness to use its leverage in the tech wars, China’s ambassador to Washington, Xie Feng, warned of Chinese retaliation against U.S. national security measures targeting Beijing at the Aspen Security Forum in mid-July. As reported by the Financial Times, the ambassador said that “China ‘cannot remain silent’ while the U.S. imposes sanctions and export controls that will make it harder for China to secure advanced U.S. technology, including cutting-end chips.”

Xie delivered his remarks as the U.S. administration is preparing an investment screening mechanism designed to cut the amount of U.S. money making its way into Chinese entities “involved in areas including semiconductors, quantum computing and artificial intelligence that could help its military.”

As followers of ARPN know all too well, China is no stranger to playing politics with its critical minerals and tech leverage, and ARPN has been tracking the weaponization of trade in the semiconductor segment in the context of the Tech Wars between the U.S. and China since 2020.

The ratcheting up of export controls should serve as fresh impetus for the United States to secure reliable supply of the critical minerals and products needed for chip manufacturing and and other hi-tech industries — such as the drone segment — independent of China.

Whether or not the U.S. will act in time to do so, is not, according to ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty“a question of science or engineering or who boasts the best single atomic layer deposition techniques. It’s a question of political will.  And if the ultimate goal is to reshore American control over our economic destiny and national security, the answer is due right now.”

To read McGroarty’s 2020 piece dedicated to the issue and published by The Economic Standard, click here.

China’s latest moves, including the drone-related curbs, have make clear it won’t shy away from escalating the Tech Wars.