Banning tech exports to China counterproductive

According to a Bloomberg report, the US administration is exploring the possibility of new controls that would extend its ban on exports of technology to China to encompass the fields of quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

As National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan observed, while speaking at the Special Competitive Studies Project Global Emerging Technologies Summit last month, advancements in science and technology are poised to define the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century, with three families of technologies seen as being of particular importance over the coming decade: computing-related technologies, including quantum information systems and artificial intelligence; biotechnologies; and clean tech.

Saying that these are force multipliers throughout the entire tech ecosystem, he also made it clear that the Joe Biden administration views technology export controls as not just a preventative tool, but also as a means to impose costs on adversaries.

Announcing its earlier ban on exports of the latest generation of AI-facilitating semiconductors to China, the US claimed it was aimed at preventing China from using them for military purposes. Sullivan's remarks show that the US administration is weaponizing tech before its application for any purpose.

The aim is to ensure that the US can "maintain as large of a lead as possible" in these key areas, Sullivan stressed.

But at what cost, commenting on the Bloomberg report, New York-based website Tom's Hardware asked the question: "What price — if any — would US companies pay for tightening the noose?"

It should be realized that its technological bullying will hurt more than just China and it is not just US companies that will be sacrificial lambs in Washington's power play. The US has long sought to maintain its global tech hegemony by crushing any competition, for which it has taken measures against Japan, Germany and France in the past. Now, China's tech advances are in its sights, and collateral damage can also be expected.