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  • Writer's pictureNorCham Washington DC

An Allied Approach to De-Risking the Tech Supply Chain

During her trainee program this summer, Margrethe attended Think Tanks events here in D.C. on topics relevant to industries that interest our NorCham members. In this blog post series, she shares her key takeaways.

Atlantic Council, June 6th, 2024

The Atlantic Council's Global China Hub hosted a timely event titled "An Allied Approach to De-Risking the Tech Supply Chain." This session brought together experts to discuss the growing concerns over China's influence on global tech supply chains amidst shifting policy landscapes in the US, Europe, and beyond.

China's economic tactics—economic coercion, state subsidies, tariffs—are making it harder for foreign companies to rely on Chinese enterprises. The US and its allies are now scrambling to diversify and secure their tech supply chains. The European Commission is pushing for less reliance on China, aiming to pump 43 billion euros into its semiconductor industry by 2030.

U.S. Moves

The United States has implemented several measures to secure its tech supply chains. Department of Commerce has implemented export control rules on advanced technologies and an executive order on outbound investment screening. Furthermore, The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 aims to strengthen US manufacturing and increase nearshoring efforts as part of President Biden's "Investing in America" agenda. Yet, there's a snag: public and private sectors in the US and Europe seem to not agree on the risks posed by China's economic activities. This lack of consensus is slowing down a unified approach.

China’s Countermoves 

Claire Chu, a fellow at the Global Insitute, offered a peek into China's playbook. Beijing feels it's being unfairly targeted by the US, which it sees as hiding behind issues like human rights to push its national security agenda. China is doubling down on self-reliance, investing heavily in R&D and talent development. It's also taking steps to counter US measures, such as restricting certain imports, but its main focus is on strengthening its tech sector from within.

Shifts in Taiwan and East Asia

Taiwan and other East Asian nations are adapting. Taiwan has slashed its investments in China, spreading its bets across Southeast Asia, India, and the US. TSMC’s significant investments in Arizona are part of this shift. South Korea is in a trickier spot, trying to balance ties with both China and the US. This regional realignment is a clear response to the new geopolitical realities.

Europe’s Game Plan 

It's clear Europe is also stepping up. The European Commission's ambitious investment plan aims to reduce dependence on China by boosting local semiconductor production and strengthening intra-European partnerships.

Allied Approach

If one thing became clear from the event, it was the importance of a coordinated, allied effort to de-risk tech supply chains from Chinese influence. But differing views and interests complicate things. We need geopolitical, economic, and strategic shifts needed to build more secure and resilient supply chains. The path forward demands collective action and a shared vision among the US, Europe, and their allies.

Picture: Margrethe Frøland.  From the right, we see Jeremy Mark, Claire Chu, and Frances Burwell.

Picture: Margrethe Frøland. Here, we see David O. Shullman giving introductory remarks.

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