US Wants to ‘De-Risk,’ Not Decouple, From China, Biden Aide Says

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Source: Bloomberg

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the Biden administration is working to “de-risk,” not “decouple,” from China, making the case that the administration’s industrial strategy is crucial to competing with its geopolitical rival.

“De-risking fundamentally means having resilient effective supply chains, and ensuring we cannot be subject to the coercion of any other country,” Sullivan said Thursday in remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington that the White House billed as a major economic address.

The US is focused on making sure that no event, from a global pandemic to a war, can deprive the world’s largest economy of what it needs, Sullivan said.

Export controls are narrowly aimed at technology that could be used to tilt the military balance against the US rather than cutting off trade, which climbed to a record last year, Sullivan said.

“These are tailored measures,” Sullivan said. “They are not, as Beijing says, a technology blockade. They are not targeting emerging economies.”

President Joe Biden’s focus on investing in the domestic economy has strengthened the US standing in the world, Sullivan said. He touted measures including the $369 billion in tax credits and other incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act to challenge China in green technologies, and the more than $50 billion in the Chips and Science Act to bring high-end semiconductor production to the US.

The US last year unleashed strict export controls on semiconductor technologies to China and has spent years targeting Huawei Technologies Co., a leader in telecommunications infrastructure that the US has deemed a national security threat with ties to the Chinese government.

Sullivan said that the US strategy on limiting critical technology sales is selective — a “small-yard, high-fence” approach.

The administration views this week as an opportune moment to highlight efforts to work with allies, coming after Biden last month hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the White House and three weeks before he travels to Hiroshima, Japan, to meet with Group of Seven leaders.

Sullivan, 46, is one of Biden’s closest advisers, one of the main architects of the administration’s plans to counter China, its main geopolitical rival, and the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


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