How Shall We Win the Chip War Over China?

By Joel Wong

The speaker in the video post is Professor Robert Atkinson, the Founder and President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). He has served in various capacities under the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Biden administrations. Atkinson challenges conventional wisdom on US-China chip relations and offers a fresh perspective on navigating the complex landscape of US-China relations. The “Thinkers Forum” is a platform dedicated to fostering intellectual discussions on various topics, including geopolitics, technology, and global relations. It attempts to provide a space for engaging with prominent figures and experts in different fields to offer diverse perspectives on important issues.

Professor Robert Atkinson criticizes the present US strategy in trying to contain China in several ways:

Overreliance on Export Controls: He criticizes the strategy of placing export bans on technologies like semiconductor chips, which he believes ultimately harms US companies. By restricting sales, US companies may invest less in research and development, hindering their competitiveness in the long run.

Lack of Nuance in Approach: Atkinson argues that the US approach lacks nuance. He suggests that instead of blanket restrictions, the US should evaluate Chinese companies on whether they are playing by the rules. He advocates for a more nuanced evaluation process to differentiate between compliant and non-compliant entities.

Focus on Dollar Strength: He criticizes the US’s strong dollar policy, suggesting that a market-adjusted dollar might make the US more competitive in global markets. Atkinson believes that a weaker dollar could benefit US competitiveness, but he acknowledges the challenges in implementing such a change due to ideological and political factors.

Need for a New Model: Atkinson advocates for a new model for US economic growth that goes beyond the traditional Washington consensus. He suggests that the US needs to adapt and evolve its economic strategies to remain competitive in the face of China’s rapid advancements.

Professor Atkinson’s Advice:

  • China’s progress in robotics, semiconductor chips, and other technologies poses a significant challenge to the US.
  • The US may need to reassess its economic strategies, including potentially accepting a weaker dollar, to maintain competitiveness.
  • Acknowledging China’s advancements and fostering cooperation could lead to mutual benefits rather than adversarial competition.
  • There are concerns about the US’s ability to compete with China in various technological fields, including biotechnology and robotics.
  • The importance of the US adapting to global economic shifts is emphasized, with a call for a more nuanced approach towards China.
  • China’s strong focus on innovation and technological development is noted as advantageous in the evolving global landscape.
  • The US-China economic relationship is complex, with suggestions for reevaluating US policies and responses to China’s economic rise.


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