The Volokh Conspiracy

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The Chinese supply chain problem

Why the Biden administration needs to take it seriously


An excerpt from my latest Washington Post article:

How to deal with the risks to homeland and national security posed by trade with China (and Russia) is the focus of a report by the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council that is scheduled to be released Thursday. I took part in the study, which reinforces and adds to recent bipartisan supply-chain recommendations of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

The danger from U.S. dependence on trade with China has been growing across more than three decades. Administrations before Trump's clung to an increasingly forlorn hope that opening U.S. markets to Chinese goods would mean cheaper materials for U.S. industries and a growing Chinese commitment to democracy and open markets.

By 2016, though, China's aims were clear: Create a domestic alternative to practically every technology it bought from the United States, then allow these Chinese tech companies to squeeze out their Western competitors. Safe from competition at home, the flourishing Chinese companies could target foreign markets, too. Meanwhile, the doctrine of "civil-military fusion" would ensure that the People's Liberation Army benefited from its domestic commercial technology development.

The report of the Homeland Security Advisory Council will be posted here under Recommendations. The Cyberspace Solarium paper is here.