It is the Constitutional responsibility for the US government to protect Americans’ security. Responding to Americans’ concerns of increasingly militarization by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Congress passed the Export Reform Control Act (ECRA) in 2018. This tightens the export controls on “emerging” and “foundational” technologies so that US innovation is not weaponized against Americans. Recent reports by the Department of Defense, the bipartisan US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and the China Task Force describe how the military and industrial sectors are fused in the PRC, and there is no reliable, systematic way to ensure that the same technology meant for consumer products ends up in weaponry.
The US is hardly alone in these concerns. Since 1996, it has partnered with some 40 nations in the Wassenaar Arrangement On Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. In December 2019, the group unanimously agreed to update the pact, adding some 50 points on semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME). Indeed, one of the most powerful ways to deter the advance of the PRC military is to deny it the means of production. If the PRC is denied SME, it can’t produce its own chips. While that doesn’t stop the PRC’s long march to become self-sufficient in semiconductors, it certainly slows it down.
Read the full opinion piece at Forbes.