By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
The White House is preparing to take unprecedented action to limit US investments in China’s tech sector, POLITICO reported on Tuesday.
The action would come in the form of an executive order signed by President Biden that would require American companies to notify the government of new investments in Chinese tech. It would also prohibit some investments altogether, such as deals involving Beijing’s microchip sector.
The report said that the order has been years in the making as some officials in the Biden administration have been at odds over how hard to go after new US investments in China.
Biden administration officials insist they are not seeking an economic decoupling with China and say the restrictions are about preventing US investment in technology that can be used by China’s military. But the order would mark a significant scaling down of the US-China trade relationship that has grown since the two countries formally established relations in 1979.
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Last year, the administration enacted export restrictions on semiconductors and chip-making equipment aimed at decimating China’s semiconductor industry. The US has also pressured the Netherlands and Japan, two countries that export the technology needed for advanced chip-making, to follow suit.
The POLITICO report said the executive order is expected to be signed at the end of April. Administration officials have already briefed industry groups on the contents of the order, although the details could still change.
Besides limiting US investment in China, the administration is considering hiking Trump-era tariffs on China and banning TikTok, the video-sharing app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. A bill supposedly designed to ban TikTok that was introduced in the Senate would give the Commerce Secretary sweeping powers to crack down on tech.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.