5G, China, Financial Times, Forbes, free trade, globalization, Huawei, Mainstream Media, national security, offshoring, offshoring lobby, Our So-Called Foreign Policy, semiconductors, tech, telecommunications, telecoms, Trade, Trump
Free trade extremists who haven’t been shocked into reality by America’s dangerous levels of dependence on health care goods imports from Chinese and other foreign suppliers (i.e., many of them) just got another whack by a two-by-four from Beijing.
Hot on the heels of a Chinese threat to embargo exports to the United States of pharmaceuticals and drug ingredients needed to fight the CCP Virus has come a new Chinese warning – that American efforts to restrict U.S. and other foreign supplies of semiconductors, other crucial electronic components, and software needed by its telecommunications giant Huawei could trigger “counter-measures” that would damage the U.S. tech sector and the American and broader global economies.
The bad news here is that, just as with the Chinese economy overall with many medicines and their ingredients, government-controlled Huawei has seized world leadership in much of the hardware needed to build next-generation 5G communications systems – which of course have already begun to be installed worldwide. Since state-of-the-art communications is crucial both to economic prosperity and national security, Huawei’s success has triggered alarm bells even among many American leaders who were long happy to support the reckless U.S. trade and related tech policies that enabled China to steal and extort much of the knowhow that build Beijing’s tech sector – and looked the other way as American firms voluntarily transferred much of the rest. (See here for an especially revealing partial account of this tech policy disaster.)
But there’s good news, too. First, U.S.-headquartered companies still hold what a Financial Times article shows are “strategic chokepoints on Huawei’s phones, from the Android operating system to RF front-end chips and the chip architectures by Arm Holdings….” (To be sure, however, this Huawei dependence is shrinking.)
Second, as reported here in Forbes, Huawei’s overall sales performance outside its home market has been so weak that it’s now “completely dependent on China for its growth.” And thanks to the worldwide recession triggered by the pandemic that of course began in China, and because of continuing national security-driven reluctance by foreign governments to give Huawei free rein in their own markets, the entity’s overseas troubles are likely to intensify. (Note: Because of pervasive Chinese state control, RealityChek refuses to call outfits like Huawei “companies” or “businesses,” as such terms suggest great common ground with enterprises in largely free-market economies.)
At the same time, let’s not whistle in the dark here. The trade and broader globalization policies responsible for these economic and national security vulnerabilities were pushed so hard so successfully for so long by pre-Trump Presidents and Congresses, that digging out of the present hole will require even more outside-the-box thinking than even the current administration has contemplated. And its task isn’t being made any easier by the efforts of the corporate Offshoring Lobby, its political and think tank hired guns, and the Mainstream Media journalists who still slavishly follow their cues, to yank the country back to globalization business-as-usual.