Foreign Policy Trade

China Follows Trump, Bans Mostly American Tech

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While Congress and the Trump regime ban Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei from government contracts, subsidies, and even from doing business with American firms, what is China to do aside from exactly the same thing?

China has not made their policy public yet, but cyber security firms say China's ruling party has ordered government offices to replace all foreign hardware and software over the next few years; an order that will primarily cost American firms business.

The policy has been dubbed “3-5-2” because the replacement of the technology will happen at a pace of 30% in 2020, 50% in 2021, and 20% in 2022, the newspaper said, citing a note from brokerage firm China Securities. Analysts there estimate that 20 million to 30 million pieces of foreign equipment need to be replaced in China. [...]

While Chinese government offices often use Chinese PCs such as Lenovo, they run Microsoft’s Windows software and may also use hardware from Dell and HP. The impact on trade negotiations will depend on how the U.S. “digests” China’s move, according to Nick Marro, global trade lead at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

“This might nevertheless complicate the discussions around Huawei, ZTE and other companies in terms of their access to the U.S. market. Much of the popular narrative has centered around the U.S. unfairly banning these Chinese companies from its market; at least with this story, the administration can publicly play the blame game of, ‘well, China’s doing it too, and they’ve been doing it for a long time.’”

Indeed, if Trump or his cabinet lackeys do respond to this publicly, I think we can venture a guess that their response will be monumentally hypocritical and detrimental to negotiations.

I'm sure Microsoft and Dell are not a threat to China's national security, but I certainly can't blame them for doing this at time when Trump has put virtually everything on the table.

Our frayed relationship and all our diplomatic and economic tensions with China can be laid at the feet of Trump. That's not to say that China is purely innocent -- because they aren't -- but Trump has made the unacceptable acceptable. We lead by example under Trump, but it's a bad example. Our protests of crackdowns in Hong Kong or China's minority Muslim community ring hollow to the world because Trump is leading the global movement toward authoritarianism.

It won't be conventional for the next president to do so, but whoever they are they must be willing to stand in front of the world and directly say that Trump was a menace who no longer represents us.

  • muselet

    I can’t say I blame the Chinese government for this move. No, the Chinese aren’t blameless, but until Donald Trump started putting *ahem* national security tariffs on Chinese goods, the disputes were diplomatic and off-the-radar for everyone but tech companies (and intellectual-property generators).

    It will be difficult for the next president to convince China to return to the negotiating table, so difficult it may require some apologies (imagine the howls of outrage from the Right if that happens).

    What a mess.