After top FBI officials testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that Chinese espionage poses the “most severe” threat currently facing American security, and after greater scrutiny of major Chinese telecommunications that had before operated with seeming impunity in the US like Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. — especially following the arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou and others in Canada — senators are now proposing a bill to combat technology threats from China.
Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio during a previous press conference on Russian election meddling. via Getty
Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio are co-sponsoring legislation that seeks to counter the risk of state-sponsored technology theft by establishing an “Office of Critical Technologies and Security” overseen by the White House. The bill would add greater teeth and oversight to current Trump administration efforts to quash Chinese attempts at stealing technology secrets from US firms, which often also involves supply chain infiltration at foreign manufacturing sites, following a related bill signed into law last August which attempted to strengthen a panel that reviews foreign-based investments in the US for national security risks, but which was widely viewed as “watered down” when it came to China.
Mark Warner (D-VA) described, “It is clear that China is determined to use every tool in its arsenal to surpass the United States technologically and dominate us economically.” Continuing his Friday statement, he said, “We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat.”
And Rubio (R-FL) specified the China tech theft threat as follows:
China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party.
Rubio added, “The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat and ensure we better protect U.S. technology.”
This follows months of multiple major instances of China caught in brazen acts of theft of American technology and trade secrets, though which only very slowly picked up steam in the mainstream media.
Trump has consistently blasted China’s “unfair trade practices” which includes stealing US intellectual property as the “cost of doing business” with Beijing. The issue has sent tensions soaring amidst a trade war that’s already disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods, potentially slowing growth.
Last month Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping called for a truce in their escalating trade war following a sideline meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, and starting early next week the two sides are set to hold governmental trade talks in Beijing (Jan 7-8).