On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai called out China’s “lack of adherence to global trading norms” and vowed that the United States would respond by developing trade policies that protect U.S. markets against unfair economic practices and benefit American workers. The speech is one of the clearest examples thus far of the Biden administration’s intent to compete with China by countering its anti-competitive economic methods, which have flouted free-market rules, distorted the global market and involved wholesale theft of American technology and know-how.
Tai made it clear that economic tools like tariffs and export controls are central to the administration’s approach. Yet the government agency most critical to these efforts still lacks the resources and authorities it needs to accomplish its mission.
The U.S.-China competition poses a complex and evolving challenge. The Commerce Department will play a vital role in developing and implementing a winning strategy, but its ability to fulfill this role will depend on its resources and authorities.
We’re talking about the Department of Commerce. As America’s national security becomes intertwined with its economic strength and technological leadership, Commerce has an increasingly central role in protecting U.S. technology advantages, addressing supply chain vulnerabilities and ensuring long-term economic competitiveness.
The Commerce Department’s role and responsibilities have grown in size and complexity, while its capabilities and resources have not. This shift reflects the nature of the competition with China (and one of the reasons the analogy to a “new Cold War” is flawed): Economic security and advantages in non-military technology have outsize importance compared to traditional military strength. That’s still crucial, of course, but much of the day-to-day contest happens in the arena of commerce. Just as other departments, like Treasury and Homeland Security, have been revamped and restructured as their relevance to national security grew, the Biden administration needs to reform the Commerce Department’s resources, structure and authorities if its China strategy is to succeed.
Read the full article from POLITICO.
More from CNAS
Sharper: Critical Technology
Critical technologies promise to upend traditional understandings of national security, economic prosperity, and everyday life. Artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantu...
By Anna Pederson & Sam Howell
What Impact Will ChatGPT Have?
OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot, a new artificial intelligence language model opens the door to new opportunities concerning technology purposes, national security, and academics. Ho...
By Alexandra Seymour
China Has a Long Way to Go before It Indigenizes Semiconductor Production Capacity, Analyst Says
Paul Scharre of the Center for a New American Security joins CNBC to discuss semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and more. Watch the full interview from CNBC....
By Paul Scharre
“Ukraine vs. Russia: “This Is the Only Reason” for the Supply of Tanks”
Adjunct Senior Fellow Samuel Bendett discusses the significance of Tanks being sent to Ukraine with TBS News Dig.Watch the full interview from TBS NEWS DIG....
By Samuel Bendett