Biden ‘might de-escalate’ China tech war – Asia Times

If elected, Joe Biden will try to climb down from the ledge where the Trump Administration finds itself after three years of tech war with China, a senior Democratic Party leader says.

Barney Frank, a former 16-term congressman and ex-chair of the House Finance Committee, told an Asia Times webinar Oct. 22 that nothing will change in America’s rhetoric towards China, but that a Biden Administration would ease some of the Trump Administration’s tech war restrictions in return for Chinese concessions. The US has slapped restrictions on the sale of computer chips to Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese companies on the Commerce Department’s “entity list,” including chips fabricated by foreign companies with American equipment or software.

Rep. Frank’s estimate is consistent with public statements by former top officials of the Obama Administration who are likely to return to office if Biden wins the Nov. 3 election.

The Trump tech war has failed to slow Huawei’s rollout of 5G mobile broadband, although it has damaged the company’s handset business. Huawei launched its Kirin chipset in 2018 designed by its subsidiary, HiSilicon, to power its high-end smartphones. That ended China’s dependence on Qualcomm chips for mobile phones. China doesn’t have the technology to fabricate the chips, which were outsourced to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. In July, the Commerce Department restricted Taiwan from making chips for Huawei because it employs US manufacturing equipment.

On Sept. 9 I broke the story that China could power its 5G base stations with older, less efficient chips that it can make at home or source from a wide variety of suppliers. Huawei and other Chinese companies will fulfill all their orders for 5G equipment, including six million base stations in China alone.


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