August 3, 2021

US Senate votes industrial policy plan to counter China

If there is one subject that has a consensus in Washington, it is rivalry with China. The Senate of the United States voted, Tuesday, June 8, by a majority of 68 votes against 32 an investment plan of nearly 250 billion dollars (205 billion euros) to face the rise in power of the China. Donald Trump’s tenure and the authoritarian shift of Chinese President Xi Jinping have overcome the traditional reluctance of Republicans on state intervention in technology and industry.

The plan, which is the subject of a 2,400-page legislation, notably provides for support for the semiconductor industry, to the tune of 52 billion dollars. The historic champion of the sector, Intel, has fallen behind in this strategic area and the United States now depends on factories located in Taiwan and South Korea. The Americans want to produce the most sophisticated microprocessors again on their territory.

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The project also plans to fund the National Science Foundation to help the United States in artificial intelligence, a sector where Beijing has taken the lead. One provision includes a ban on downloading Chinese apps, like TikTok, to federal government phones. The app, popular with young people, is suspected of sharing data with the Chinese Communist Party. IBM boss Arvind Krishna praised the measure: “This is visionary legislation, which encourages the kind of public-private partnership that has allowed humanity to go to the moon. ”

“Win the XXIe century “

The United States is thus rehabilitating the concept of industrial policy, with the Federal State considering itself in a position to choose the sectors and companies to be favored. Democratic Leader New York Senator Chuck Schumer, known for his anti-Chinese stances, summed up the affair at New York Times: “Industrial policy means that we are going to choose Ford and give them the funds. “ The Americans ignored their liberal considerations, judging that Beijing was massively subsidizing its industrial champions like Huawei and that the distinction between the civilian and the military was more than fine. The project is very close to the “Made in China 2025” program, which aims to make China the leader in key technologies of the future.

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In a statement, President Joe Biden, who continues the “America first” policy of his predecessor, welcomed the Senate vote: “We are in a competition to win the XXIe century, and the kick-off has sounded. As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind. America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on earth ”, Mr Biden wrote, adding that he was throwing “ the foundations of the next generation of American jobs and American leadership in industrial and technological matters ”.

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