The U.S.-China technology relationship in flux

October 4, 2019 1:30 pm

Technology policy was long the sleepy domain of technical specialists and bureaucrats. Over the last two years, however, technology relations between the United States and China have hit the front page. Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE have taken actions that have attracted strict sanctions from Washington, prompting Beijing to intensify efforts to develop advanced indigenous semi-conductors. As a result, global supply chains in the technology sector face unprecedented strain. U.S.-China innovation systems have also come under scrutiny with new U.S. government concerns over Chinese-funding of U.S.-based research. This has led several American universities to rescind Chinese funding and in extreme cases to the termination of faculty. As technology policy becomes more central to the U.S.-China relationship, how can the two parties manage tensions and also promote continued economic development and innovation? How will new technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing put further strain on the relationship? What role might businesses play in managing possible tensions?

On October 4, the Georgetown University Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues and The Brookings Institution convened a panel of experts from the U.S. and China to discuss the emerging U.S.-China technology relationship. In addition to addressing the above questions, the experts discussed the roots of growing tensions between the partners as well as possible pathways forward.

Following the conversation, panelists answered questions from the audience.

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Ryan Hass

The Michael H. Armacost Chair

Fellow - Foreign PolicyCenter for East Asia Policy StudiesJohn L. Thornton China Center


Panel discussion

Henry Farrell

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs - George Washington University

Can Huang

Professor and Head, Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy; Co-Director, Institute for Intellectual Property Management - Zhejiang University

Abraham Newman

Director, Mortara Center for International Studies; Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government - Georgetown University

Adam Segal

Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies and National Security and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program - Council on Foreign Relations

Yeling Tan

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science - University of Oregon


Ryan Hass

The Michael H. Armacost Chair

Fellow - Foreign PolicyCenter for East Asia Policy StudiesJohn L. Thornton China Center


Brookings Institution Washington, DC
Focus Area: 

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