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Dealing with China on high-tech issues

22 Dec 2020 - 10:26
Bron: Inserting connector into a socket with flag of the EU. Translation or online connection concept, 3d rendering. © Shutterstock
Views from the US, EU and like-minded countries in a changing geopolitical landscape

As President-Elect Joe Biden enters the White House, what are the opportunities for EU–US cooperation in the trade, high-tech and digital domains? Together with like-minded partners, the transatlantic partners aim for deepened and renewed engagement in the bilateral and multilateral context. They need to deliver on broadening multilateralism to new areas and, in certain cases, new approaches.

This Clingendael Report aims to contribute to a reorientation of the EU in the broad field of economic security, in the transatlantic context and with Japan, India and Australia.

The policies of European governments and businesses in the trade, high-tech and digital domains are undergoing profound change. Stakeholders are starting to act on the awareness that some geopolitical challenges, in particular concerning China, cannot be solved within the liberal–democratic mindset alone. Still, however, they do want to uphold – and update – the basic principles of the rules-based system.

This report adopts an ‘outside-in approach’ to discuss the many economic security challenges. It presents views and forward-looking suggestions by key experts from six countries: the United States, Germany, France, Japan, India and Australia.

All of the experts reflect on the same leading question:

What opportunities and challenges exist for cooperation, coordination and synergies between the US and the EU, and with like-minded partners in Asia, to address the shared challenge of a stronger and more assertive China?

Figure 1 of report - assessment Chinas behaviour vs preferred response

In the final chapter, the editors highlight the key trends that emerge from these chapters. Also, they reflect on key insights that stand out as opportunities and obstacles for further dialogue and joint action.

Two obstacles to enhanced cooperation in the trade, technology and digital fields that emerge from the chapters are (1) (perceived) protectionist tendencies; and (2) the normative dimension that revolves around trade-offs concerning business interests, individuals’ interests and state security in technology governance.

Important lessons for Europe include: (1) the fact that there is still much to learn other countries’ experiences, including Australia; (2) the need to explain better their respective competences in the trade– tech–digital fields, as well as the consequences they hold for the role that each can play in pushing forward with new initiatives such as the tech alliance.

This Clingendael report was edited by Maaike Okano-Heijmans and Brigitte Dekker.

It includes eight country case studies by the following authors:

  • United States – James Andrew Lewis – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • United States – Martijn Rasser – Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • United States – William Alan Reinsch – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Australia – Bart Hoogeveen – Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)
  • India – Rudra Chaudhuri – Carnegie India
  • France – John Seaman, Marc Julienne and Françoise Nicolas – Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Germany – Bernhard Bartsch and Anika Sina Laudien – Bertelsmann Stiftung
  • Japan – Kazuto Suzuki – Tokyo University

All contributions reflect solely the authors’ views.

Read report.