April 30, 2021

What Would a US-Led Global Technology Alliance Look Like?

By Ilan Goldenberg and Martijn Rasser

In its early weeks, the Biden administration has wisely signaled that it plans to shift U.S. focus away from the Middle East and toward global competition with China. In addition to the political and military realms, Washington will need to compete with China in the realm of technology. And it is here that fresh thinking is most needed. Such an approach will require new frameworks for action, and there are a number of proposals for how tech leading democracies can come together in different multilateral and minilateral formats. Few, however, offer recommendations on how to turn these ideas into action.

We propose that the tech-leading democracies engage and coordinate in a framework based on three central legs: aligning strategic perspectives with regards to China; harmonizing our regulatory regimes with regards to investment and export control; and deepening economic and technology cooperation.

But the United States will be more effective working in concert with like-minded countries and rallying its allies and partners to craft a unified approach to technology policy.

China is making major investments in key strategic technologies such as 5G telecommunications, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence, which over time could translate into economic and military advantages over the United States. It has pursued policies of forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft. It has worked to create new regional economic mechanisms and tried to shape existing international institutions to facilitate a friendly environment for Chinese technology companies. And worryingly, it has converted many new information technologies designed to provide greater freedom and opportunity to humanity into tools of oppression to be leveraged by the surveillance state and exported those tools to other autocratic governments.

There is much the United States can do on its own to respond to this challenge, such as investing in research and development, updating its export control regime to better protect U.S. technological advantages, and investing in the education of the next generation of scientists. But the United States will be more effective working in concert with like-minded countries and rallying its allies and partners to craft a unified approach to technology policy.

Read the full article from The Diplomat.

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