United States President Joe Biden has taken a significant step towards safeguarding national security by signing an executive order that restricts new U.S. investments in China’s critical technology sectors.
The move aims to curb potential threats posed by the advancement of sensitive technologies, such as computer chips, quantum information, and certain artificial intelligence systems, that could potentially aid China’s military modernization efforts and undermine U.S. security.
The executive order empowers the U.S. Treasury Secretary to impose limitations or prohibitions on U.S. investments in Chinese entities operating within the specified sectors. While the restrictions are intended for “narrow subsets” of these industries, specific details remain undisclosed, and public input is being sought on the proposal.
President Biden, in a letter to Congress, declared a national emergency to address the escalating technological threat posed by countries like China. This order is designed to prevent American resources from inadvertently aiding China’s technological advancements that could have military, intelligence, surveillance, or cyber-enabled capabilities.
China expressed its concerns over the executive order, stating it is “gravely concerned” and reserves the right to take appropriate measures. The Chinese Commerce Ministry criticized the move, stating that it interferes with the normal operations of enterprises and undermines international economic and trade norms, Reuters news report said.
The White House emphasized that the decision was made after consulting with allies and incorporating feedback from the Group of Seven (G7) nations. The U.S. government aims to ensure that American investments no longer contribute to the advancement of China’s military capabilities.
The proposed restrictions primarily focus on investments in Chinese companies developing software for computer chip design and manufacturing tools. The order is targeted at future investments and will not affect existing ones. However, the Treasury may require disclosure of prior transactions.
The executive order could potentially escalate tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. While the Chinese embassy in Washington expressed disappointment over the measure, U.S. officials clarified that the order addresses specific national security risks and is not intended to isolate the two nations’ interconnected economies.
Despite the challenges, the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association expressed optimism, hoping that the executive order would provide U.S. chip firms with equal opportunities to access global markets, including China.
The executive order signifies President Biden’s commitment to safeguarding national security in an increasingly complex and technologically driven geopolitical landscape. As this development unfolds, key questions loom over how U.S. allies will respond and how China will react to the growing restrictions.