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Balkanising technology will backfire on the US

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

(Original source The Financial Times)

“Washington’s decision to blacklist Huawei, preventing US companies from buying its products, may be a death sentence for China’s leading technology group. It is hard to see how Huawei can survive without a negotiated settlement between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

But this fight is about more than the fate of one company. After 30 years of globalisation, we now face the very real prospect that an economic iron curtain may descend. Technology has become a core problem in the US-China relationship, blurring the lines between economic competitiveness and national security. The battle is about whose economy will drive the technology of the future and set the standards for it.

These issues are among the most intractable because they strike at the core of each country’s national security and competitiveness, and there is no playbook for resolving them. Increasingly, the west and China will compete over whose technologies and standards will become dominant. The battle could fragment the world as some regions choose Chinese products and standards while others opt for infrastructure that is dependent on US and western technology and standards. One likely source of friction is the competition to build and deploy 5G architecture, which will underpin a vast array of commercial and military technologies.”

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