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Report to Unveil New American Strategy for U.S.-China Science and Technology Competition

Policy recommendations for White House transition team will be discussed at Nov. 16 event

The “Meeting the China Challenge: A New American Strategy for Technology Competition” report will be made public at the Nov. 16 UC San Diego press conference.


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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A new report outlining a national strategy for the U.S.-China science and technology competition will be released at a press conference and webinar scheduled for 11 a.m. PST on Nov. 16. The discussion, featuring key authors, will center on the report’s recommendations for how the U.S. can maintain its competitive edge while enhancing innovation and protecting national security.

Created as a guide for the transition teams for the next Democratic or Republican president, the report was developed over the course of a year by the bipartisan Working Group on Science and Technology in U.S.-China Relations.  It sets forth broad policy objectives as well as specific recommendations for a new and integrated approach to competition by the U.S. in four domains of science and technology: fundamental research, 5G digital communications, artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

“China’s behavior under Xi Jinping raises fundamental concerns about the nature of China’s global ambitions and challenges the U.S. as the undisputed global technology leader,” said Peter F. Cowhey, a technology policy expert who is chair of the working group and dean of the University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. “Our analysis re-examines conventional wisdom held by many ‘inside the beltway’ to assess what is the best way for our country to compete with an increasingly more capable China.”

China’s advancement coupled with its deviation from the norms of fair competition in science and technology development, create economic and security risks for the U.S. and other countries and require forceful collective responses, according the report’s authors—a team comprised of 28 China specialists and experts in science and technology from academia, industry, and think tanks, including several former government officials.

Among their findings, the U.S. is in better shape than many believe; however, the country has neglected its own foundations for science and technology leadership. More investment at the federal level is recommended, specifically 1% or higher of GDP for federal R&D spending.

“A clear-eyed and long-term approach to global cooperation is needed that minimizes the security risks China poses without unduly sacrificing the benefits of openness,” said Susan Shirk, chair of UC San Diego’s 21st Century China Center.  “We warn that, if not carefully conceived, U.S. barriers to flows of talent, technology, investment and knowledge will harm American security and competitiveness as well as damage the global knowledge economy.”

Organized by the UC San Diego 21st Century China Center, the working group operates under the auspices of the Task Force on U.S.-China Policy co-chaired by Shirk and Orville Schell from the Center on U.S.-China Relations of the Asia Society.

“With science and technology innovation becoming a core issue in the growing rivalry between the U.S. and China, this report represents a turning point for foreign policy and China experts who need to learn more about technology just as such experts had to learn about nuclear technology during the U.S.-USSR Cold War,” said Cowhey.

The “Meeting the China Challenge: A New American Strategy for Technology Competition” report will be made public at the Nov. 16 press conference. Moderated by Shirk, the event will feature Cowhey along with co-authors Arthur Bienenstock of Stanford University; Anja Manuel of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC; Jason Matheny of the Center for Security & Emerging Technology at Georgetown University and Keith Yamamoto of UC San Francisco. To RSVP, please register on the press conference website.

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