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Senator presents strategy for specific decoupling with China in new report

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is calling for the United States to secede from the Chinese regime as it continues to steal American intellectual property and spy on Americans, according to a new report compiled by his office.

“The will and need to confront communist China is growing. Now is the time to act, « Cotton said in a speech at the Reagan Institute on February 18, where he also released his report » Beating China: Targeted Decoupling and the Long Economic War. « 

He called for the decoupling of the sectors of the United States and China that are critical to the economy, « in order to exploit the leverage that we have on China and minimize their leverage on us. »

Those areas include artificial intelligence, critical minerals, entertainment, higher education, investments, medicine and medical equipment, telecommunications, and semiconductors.

Cotton explained that the United States now needed to confront the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a regime that seeks to replace the United States as « the great power of the world, » because previous administrations had « failed and flawed policies in the last 30 years, persecuted both sides « .

In particular, he noted the granting by the United States of a permanent status of normal trade relations to China, made during the term of President Bill Clinton. The move paved the way for Beijing to join the World Trade Organization in December 2001.

Cotton said the status should be revoked and an old system adopted whereby « the president and Congress reviewed China’s trade privileges every year in light of its progress on human rights. »

He also praised the former Trump administration for laying the groundwork for selective decoupling from China through policies that sought to curb Beijing’s evil influence.

«[H]This administration waged a campaign to toughen our defenses against China’s aggressive behavior and sound the diplomatic alarm around the world… and it should be the starting point for a long-term, bipartisan national strategy, ”according to the report.

Directed decoupling

At the top of Cotton’s strategy is a focus on semiconductors, which are tiny chips that power everything from smartphones to missiles. The report noted that current export bans on certain Chinese companies, including placing Chinese chipmaker SMIC on a commercial blacklist, were not enough.

Cotton recommended that the US government « prohibit the sale of next-generation semiconductors developed or produced with US software or technology to all Chinese entities. »

Additionally, to prevent Chinese companies from circumventing the proposed ban, Cotton stated that there should be an export ban on US electronic design automation (EDA) tools for Chinese end users.

EDAs are software used to design integrated circuits and semiconductors. Currently, EDA development is dominated by US companies such as Cadence and Synopsys.

« Semiconductor machinery and software design tools represent major bottlenecks that can slow down the efforts of Chinese semiconductors, » according to the report.

« Delaying the progress of China’s semiconductor industry for even a few years would impose immense difficulties on the CCP and protect the commercial and military advantages of the United States, » the report added.

Cotton also recommended the creation of a « semiconductor business block. » Countries joining the bloc could pool resources for research and development and establish a « multilateral export control regime against China, » according to the report.

Protecting US campuses

China’s « methodical » theft of American technology has helped Chinese companies beat American companies with cheap knockoffs and facilitated the rise of the Chinese military to become the second most powerful in the world, according to the report.

Action is needed to « end China’s ability to rid itself of stolen research » from US universities and force China to invest in its own basic research, according to the report.

Calls on the United States to prohibit the entry of Chinese funds into US research institutions and to demand greater transparency on the source of funding for schools; restricting university staff from accepting Chinese payments, whether from recruitment, grant or travel programs, or withholding federal grants; prevent Chinese citizens from conducting peer reviews on US government funded research; end research joint ventures with China; and lastly, ending the 10-year multiple entry visa program for Chinese citizens and keeping Chinese students out of the sensitive fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The 10-year visa program began in 2014 under the Obama administration, despite objections from intelligence officials about its potential to allow intelligence transfers to China, according to the report. In December last year, the State Department revised visitor visa rules for CCP members and their immediate families, reducing the maximum length of their stay from 10 years to one month.

Such measures are likely to face a setback, the report admits. Objections to academic decoupling may arise due to the ‘politically correct culture’ of the institutions, the existing dependence on Chinese student enrollment, or lack of funding.

To mitigate potential resistance, the US government should explain the serious threats and reward cooperation, the report recommended.