Protection can't preserve US tech edge

Zhu Dongyang
Du Jing
Gao Pan
It is high time for Washington to reconsider the aftermath of its approach, and walk its talk to secure free trade and investment.
Zhu Dongyang
Du Jing
Gao Pan

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued support for “strong” legislation and mechanism to hold back foreign entities from acquiring key technologies.

Washington needs to be fully aware that protectionism would inflict poison, not promise, to US prosperity.

In a statement, Trump vowed to implement promptly and enforce rigorously the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act that better protects the “crown jewels” of American technology and intellectual property, which allegedly threaten America’s “critical technology leadership, national security, and future economic prosperity.”

Although the statement did not refer to the administration’s previous threats to roll out restrictive executive measures against Chinese entities, the announcement, coming on the heels of a series of US threats to slap trade tariffs against other nations this year, still represents Washington’s readiness for a close-door trajectory featuring unilateralism and protectionism.

Such a mindset, which runs counter to all free market rules, would pose damage to its trading partners and ultimately hurt America’s own interests.

One of the US leader’s arguments is to bring a promising future to the country’s industrial workers, yet up to now, pains are what they have felt.

Harley-Davidson, a “crown jewel” of US manufacturing industry, has decided to move its production to other countries to evade Europe’s retaliatory tariffs triggered by US measures.

Hog farmers in the US state of Iowa are also losing hundreds of millions of US dollars in merely two months in the heat of a trade war threat.

Sadly, Washington has seemed not ready to draw lessons from the consequences of its whim.

Rather, it has even expanded such reckless policy measures to foreign investment, in an appalling bid to secure US cutting edge technology at the expense of others.

It is high time for Washington to reconsider the aftermath of its approach, and walk its talk to secure free trade and investment.

After all, protectionist moves are unable to preserve America’s technological edge.

The authors are Xinhua writers.

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