US trade chief warns of “threat” from China – South China Morning Post

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Saturday called on lawmakers, Silicon Valley and US allies to prevent China from obtaining semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies critical to national security.

At an annual national defense forum in Simi Valley, California, Raimondo called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed: “China is not our friend.”

The world’s two largest economies are locked in fierce commercial and geopolitical competition in which her ministry plays a leading role.

In October, Raimondo unveiled a series of restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China, including those used in the development of artificial intelligence (AI), to prevent their use by Beijing for its military.

US trade chief warns of threat from China – South

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Biden’s technology policy goal for China: a 10-year handicap

Biden’s technology policy goal for China: a 10-year handicap

“I know there are CEOs of chip companies in this audience who were a little upset with me when I did this because you’re missing out on revenue. That’s life: protecting our national security is more important than short-term revenue.”

“Newsflash: Democracy is good for your businesses. The rule of law here and around the world is good for your businesses,” she said.

Raimondo noted that Nvidia, maker of the most sophisticated chips needed to develop the latest generation of AI, has developed a product with performance just below the limit set by its department for export to China.

“That’s what the industry is doing,” she acknowledged, but added: “It’s not productive.”

The US continues to restrict China from AI chips to hinder military development

“Every day China wakes up and tries to figure out how to get around our export controls… which means we have to wake up every minute of every day to tighten those controls and take enforcement more seriously with our allies,” she said.

Raimondo emphasized that her department needs better funding to effectively accomplish its mission.

“I have a budget of $200 million. It’s like the price of a few fighter jets. Come on,” she said. “Let’s fund this operation the way it needs to be funded so we can carry it out, we have to do it to protect America.”

“America is the world leader in artificial intelligence…America is the world leader in advanced semiconductor design,” Raimondo said. “It’s because of our private sector. There is no way we will allow it [China] catch up.”


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